Extravagant Generosity by Elise Hanley
Posted on December 1, 2011 by Elise Hanley

It is only December 1st, but I am already wowed and in awe of the generous Christmas spirit of the Marble community!

As I start my second year in this position of ‘Director of Mission and Outreach’ I get my second dose of holy Advent chaos and true frenetic Christmastide joy. Together with my colleague Tom and members of Marble’s Action Committee, I help oversee the distribution and tracking of our Jingle Bell Wishes and Dear Santa Letters. These letters have been put out for the plucking in Poling Chapel after Worship the last 3 Sundays, and they will be out once more this upcoming Sunday.

And a mountain of gifts has already come in! I am ever moved by your generosity. And I love to hear stories from our Santa's. For example, two congregants decided to share a letter, and buy a little boy a bike. One man brought the bike in last Sunday, complete with a festive bow on the handlebars. I noted it was a Huffy bike. “Oh yes,” he said. “My first bike was a Huffy. It had to be a Huffy.” Another gift giver bought a little girl some beautiful clothes, including a high quality winter coat. But then he returned during the week, with another package. “I remember all the times I got clothes from Santa and was disappointed. I had to also get her a toy.”

I’ve been floored by your caring. Many of you have taken multiple letters. You get your whole family involved, and you make your friends or coworkers take a letter. You have eagerly called me to inquire as to where exactly you can find the exact toy the child wants You have emailed me to inquire about age appropriateness, to find out exactly what ‘Bey Blade’ or ‘Leapfrog’ is, to ask if a little girl will really mind if the toy is lavender when she asked for pink. For a short period of time, these children aren’t just children, they become our children. These children live in the throes of poverty, and for some, abuse and neglect. We can’t save each one from their sad situations, but we can give them exactly what they want for Christmas. Our love may not be enough to change their lives, but it does change ours – we receive so much when we give of ourselves. And in our generosity, our extravagant generosity, there is healing to be found.

There is still time to take a letter and buy a gift, or to become an Angel for Prattsville (more about that next week). We also understand that not everyone has the resources to buy extra gifts, so we invite you to contribute by helping to wrap the gifts after church on Sunday, December 11th, or by helping to distribute them at the Children’s Party on Saturday, December 17th.

Thanks be to God, and to the loving Marble Community.

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