Christmas is Good News!
December 23, 2020 | The Ruehlman Family
Merry Christmas! I know that you might be celebrating the gift of Jesus a little differently this year, but I pray that it will not be any less meaningful. The birth of Jesus is good news. For those of you that participated in our Giving Tree effort this year, thank you for doing your part to bring good news to families who have endured much bad news. Special thank you to the Ruehlman family, who administered the collection and distribution of gift cards COVID season style! Here is their report:
"We collected almost $9,000 in gift cards! That is remarkable for a congregation that is primarily virtual and just shows the people's generosity at Mt. Carmel.
We served 66 families, totaling 216 kids served.
In addition to the gift cards, every family received a Christmas Cookie kit with at least 2 cookie mixes, marshmallows, hot chocolate, icing, and sprinkles. Some parents were just as excited about the cookie experience with their kids as the gift cards!
We all know that 2020 has been a rough year, and many of the families we assisted were not spared from the hardships. Many of the families we helped this year were unemployed due to COVID, recovering from personal illness, and approximately half the families we helped were new to the Giving Tree.
A couple of stories that stuck out:
- A mother was overcome with joy that we were able to bring her daughter a Christmas that she otherwise wouldn't be able to afford. They struggled to even purchase a Christmas tree this year, and when they finally found a tree, the lights weren't working. So the mom did the best she could to light it up anyway. However, this didn't sit well, and that little girl got her wish for more Christmas lights. Their cookie basket had an extra surprise - a reel of Christmas lights, in addition to unicorn sprinkles, which we learned the daughter is obsessed with. It was a heartwarming reminder that the small things, such as Christmas lights and unicorn sprinkles, can make someone's day. :)
- One family we assisted was directly impacted by COVID. The mother recently got out of the hospital after spending 22 days inpatient, and each member of the family contracted it. This year, assisting this family was much appreciated because it took the stress off them to have to shop or search for gifts. Plus, what teenager doesn't love a Target gift card?
The appreciation, gratitude, and relief that was brought to these families was a blessing in itself. The different approach of gift cards this year was well received by parents as it was going to allow them the joy of buying the gifts themselves for their families. They are, of course, grateful for the tangible gifts too, but as a parent, there is joy in knowing you put that smile on your kid's face Christmas morning, so it was nice to give the parents the opportunity of that happiness.
We couldn't count the number of "thank you!" or "God Bless" we received because there were too many to count.
Thank you for allowing and entrusting us to lead this experience. It was a blessing to us, as well.
God bless you! Merry Christmas.