Christmas is a time for family and fellowship. It is a time of reflection and remembrance of the miracle of God’s grace. I love Christmas time. You see, I grew up on a Christmas tree farm and Christmas was harvest time, a time to see the joy and laughter as families picked out their perfect tree. On Christmas Eve, our family would gather and have a wonderful meal and exchange gifts. After church on Christmas day we would go to my aunt’s house and the celebrations would continue well into the night with my uncle and cousin leading us in song while playing the piano and guitar. What wonderful memories I have of Christmas, with some old family traditions still part of our Christmas celebration today. What are your family traditions? What are your happy memories of your family Christmas?
To children of brokenness, this is not always the happiest time of year. What if all you wanted for Christmas was to go home, to be with family, but you can’t? It doesn’t matter whether there will be gifts, large meals, or even a warm bed; you just want to be there, not in the home in which you have been placed. For us who have grown up with happiness and joy surrounding Christmas it is very hard to understand the emotions foster children are experiencing, and why some are solemn and angry. Some of the girls we visit this is a time of year are lashing out at each other or at anyone who tries to reach out to them. It is our job to ease their pain, and to try to lighten their burdens.
Jesus said to the crowds:
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
This is why we celebrate the joy of Christmas with the children living in group home foster care. We will try to lighten their burden, a burden not of their own making, and brighten up their day. At our Christmas party we will sing carols of God’s glory, feast on fabulous food, and hand out gifts. The gifts are modest but given with love. All have been donated from either our generous ministers or other wonderful ministries within our parish. The Prayer Shawl Ministry, for example, provided beautiful scarves for each of our girls, and the Delightful Quilters made wonderful quilts for them as well.
For the Love of Kids Ministry would like to thank all of you for your support. We couldn’t do what we do without the incredible parishioners of St Patrick Catholic Community. Thank you for reading this blog and helping to spread the word of the plight of children in foster care. By raising awareness, we can and will make a difference in the lives of children. Merry Christmas and have a happy New Year.