My fingers are blistered.
I have cut out a lot of red crosses. One hundred and ten red crosses to be exact. The crosses are scratched with sizes and likes and wishes. Some newborn, some advanced in years. All live in Countryside. All have varying degrees of struggles this year. All are looking to these red crosses to provide gifts this Christmas.
My head is hurting.
The organization of 110 crosses is taxing. Neighbors filled them out trusting that we would meet their needs. They don’t care how, really. As long as they can have something for their children under the tree this year. They are appreciative. And even surprised when we tell them they can fill out a cross too. No matter your age, you deserve a gift this year. We are celebrating Jesus this year and He wants you to feel special too.
My faith is tested.
One-hundred and ten. That’s a lot. We work with a lot of churches but they have other things going on this Holiday Season. They have shoeboxes to fill and offerings to give and families of their own. Lord, will you provide this time or will we have to take the crosses back and tell them they will have to get their gifts some other way?
My heart is full.
The churches stepped up despite their other ministries. They took part in The Connecting Tree. They want to connect with Countryside. They want Countryside to connect with Christ.
A family member called to see if we had anyone who needed help this Christmas–she took seven crosses to carry on her recently deceased mother’s memory. She’s calling it Ruby’s Gift because Ruby always provided for a family at Christmas.
Two friends called to see if we had anyone who needed help this Christmas–they took nine crosses so they could teach their children the real reason for Christmas.
The stories go on with how God has distributed 93 crosses so far. He is proud of His people for taking care of each other.
“For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.” Deuteronomy 15:11
And the needs go much deeper than material gifts. There is need for jobs and food and love and prayer and spiritual restoration.
And 7-year-old boys recognize that. Do you see his #1 wish? My mom can get a job.
We believe that as these crosses are handed out to The Church, Christ will use His people to move mountains in Countryside. That’s what He does. He uses The Church to take someone’s cross full of burdens and meet their needs in simple ways. That’s what God did at Christmas. He met our need for salvation by allowing His Son to be born, in order that He would die on the cross years later as the perfect sacrifice. This reveals the true meaning of The Cross to Countryside, the true meaning of The Connecting Tree, and the true meaning of Christmas.