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Prayer Tree - December 24

December 24, 2021

HEALTH & HEALING

"For Doug who just had a liver transplant"

"I had robotic surgery the end of Sept.for a prolapsed bladder. Due to a lack of proper communication, my son & daughter are not speaking. She feels her brother was "bossy" telling her I needed a ride to the hospital & he felt she was just being nasty. She feels her brother (he lives in my house) doesn't do anything & I am caught in the middle...so much that I will not be spending Christmas with either one of them. BTW - the surgery was not as successful as I had hoped & now I am dealing with severe osteoporosis. Thank you."

"My niece is expecting her fourth child. She had some rH issues with her third, but medical providers told her to go ahead with another. She found out she is now pre-diabetic. She has experienced serious bleeding issues over the past few weeks, including losing what they think was a twin. She is now 15 weeks and has just tested positive for covid. They more than anything want her to make it to 20 weeks, because then there are interventions should the rH issues become more serious. Please pray for her and the child's health - but also that she and her husband would be drawn closer to God through these circumstances, this journey. Thank you and God bless you!"

"My husband was run over by a log truck carrying the mail. The only part left of the car is where he sat. It tore the roof off the car. Pray his neck and head heals. He’s in major pain from that wreck. It knocked him out and he still is unclear of whAt happened."

"Prayer for healing from the effects of J&J vaccine nine months ago."

"Pray for my daughters friend Katie. Young women of 35. She’s battling lymphadema, a complication from Cerebral Palsy since birth. And also for a lower leg ulcer to heal. Thank you."

"My sons and I need prayer for healing..ty"

"Pray that my daughter and her husband open their eyes to what is real and that they wake up and heal their relationships with family."

"My 51 yr old son is in jail for molesting a young girl. As it's not his first offence, he has a federal charge against him. God gave me the gift of TRUST, to believe that He is in charge of John and all that he'll be going through. He needs to repent and see his sin for what it is. Hopefully, time will come that he'll be able to repent to the two girls, and help them heal from his lusting, inherited from his father. Thanks! He said at age 7, that he was called to preach. Hopefully, this will all be a part of his testimony someday!"

"Dan C. who is going through challenging health issues."

"Daughter has abandoned all family members"

"Please pray for my brother, Michael who has stage 5 prostate cancer. The cancer has spread to his bones. Please pray for his salvation. Thank you. Margie T."

"Please pray for my 18 year daughter Katie to be healed from her multiple chronic medical conditions. Thank you and may God bless you!"

"For a churchmember, Jeff who has Esophogial cancer and is very weak, that he may strengthen and recover."

"Please pray for heal8ng and restoration of the Peter Boddie family and for our prodigals to come back to the Lord (Jeremiah 31:16-17)."

"Requesting prayer for my son Luke who needs God back in his life. He is an alcoholic, with 2 beautiful daughters and another baby on the way."

"Please pray for our medical workers, doctors, nurses, support staff, police, fire and first responders! They have been so overwhelmed by the loss of life during this pandemic. They are responding tirelessly to the needs of their communities at great risk to their and their families personal safety! They’re tired and worn out but not defeated! Let them know we are thankful to the Lord for their service and are lifting them up in prayer! A plate of goodies probably wouldn’t hurt either!"

"Michael Kline has Alzheimer’s"

"My dog (fur baby) Cora Belle has terminal bladder cancer. Please pray that I have the strength to let her go with dignity when her time is up."

"I'm requesting prayers for my estranged son, Joel. That he will be saved and stop preventing us from seeing our granddaughters. We would like for him to one day want to be part of our family again."

"About two or three weeks after I had my second covid shot my gastroparesis flared up. I was manageable with medication up until I got the second shot. I developed severe insomnia which I had never had in my life. I got to the point where I couldn’t eat anything. I began having pain across upper abdomen to the point where I would cry. My G.I. doctor referred me to a surgeon at you UAMS In Little Rock . He performed what is called a G poem where they slice one side of the pylorus so that the food will move more easily from your stomach to your small intestines It did not work. I went back to UAMS and they had to put a peg tube into my stomach that didn’t work. whatever I ate just sat in my stomach and went nowhere. Two days later they put a short extension tube into my small intestines and sent me home. I go back to the hospital on January 18 to have J tube put in. Please pray for me and the doctors who are going to perform the surgery. By his will and his stripes I am healed."

"Pray for a dear friend, Janice Kobey, that has been diagnosed with colon cancer. God's Will Be Done. Amen"

"My oldest daughter Debbie has stage 4 ovarian cancer, cannot keep food down, so she's starving to death and very weak. She's elected not to have chemo, but is using alternative therapies. My step-daughter Pam has stage 4 colon cancer, and is in terrible pain. Her legs hurt so badly she's practically bed-ridden. Her husband is afraid to leave her, so his construction income suffers. Her chemo costs thousands, and their situation is very precarious. Thank you for your concern and prayers!"

"MY SISTER LENA WAS PUT ON HOSPICE CARE A FEW DAYS AGO"

"My special needs son Danny. He’s battling covid in the hospital."

"My Nephew is fighting cancer ... his fight is long & hard ... he is 32 years old with a wife and 2 small children ... he has had 2 brain surgery's, kemo and other treatments ... he is a faithful man and fights very hard ... please pray for."

"Pray for Bud Atkins. He has been having mental problems."

"Thank you to everyone that is praying for Pastor Kenny W ... he has been in the hospital since November 25 dealing with Covid and Pneumonia ... he is improving and may get out of the hospital soon. Prayers work! God is Good!"

"Please pray for my husband Nelson. He had a stroke on November 28 that left his left side paralyzed. He went into rehab therapy but contracted Covid and an UTI. Please pray for strength and healing as he is back in rehab but very tired and weak. Thank you"

"Please help my friend, Susan who’s facing her third bout of cancer. She’s such a sweet dear person and always has a positive attitude. I can’t pray enough for her so please join me."

IN MEMORIAM

"Dottie B. who passed away this week."

"In memoriam for Grandpa, Dad, Joe, Aunt Peggy and Jeannie. Xoxo."

The story of Christmas is, at its heart, the story of the world’s joy at the birth of a baby. So it’s no wonder many people develop a deeper appreciation of Christmas after having children of their own.

Rod and Amy from North Carolina recalled that over 25 years ago, they were filling out paperwork to adopt a child from Korea. They wrote:

“Our then-3-year-old prayed every night that her baby would be home for Christmas, and she told everyone who asked that she was getting a little sister for Christmas. When Christmas came and went and we still hadn't heard from the adoption agency, we feared our little one's faith in a God who hears our prayers would be weakened.

But then, in February, we got the long-awaited call telling us about a gorgeous little girl named Joo Bin. Imagine our amazement, joy, and awe when we heard her birthday was…December 24. We had NO DOUBT she was ours!”

Thank you, Rod and Amy. And I’m sure you’ve never had a doubt in all the years since. Now, here’s another story about a baby that proves the best Christmas gifts come in small packages.

Mary B. Walsh of the nostalgic and inspiring “Dear Baby Boomer” blog (I highly recommend you check it out at http://dearbabyboomer.blogspot.com) shared this special memory of another child who appeared at Christmas. It was 1956, and Mary was five years old. Six glittering stockings were hung on the mantle. The kids circled the piano and sang as Dad played “Joy to the World” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” Mary wrote:

“Snow was falling silently, draping our familiar world in soft flannel...It would be a white Christmas for sure! A muffled voice broke through the darkness. The playing stopped as we stood motionless, hoping to hear it once again.

‘It's a BOY! We have a BOY!‘

Dad threw open the window and a gust of chilly winter air swept in the joyous news. Our neighbor leaned out the window, waving her arms ecstatically, heralding the birth of her great grandson. Jimmy John would be a welcome addition to the family of three daughters! Waiting hot chocolate topped off the excitement before heading up to bed.

As I lay awake, gazing out at the full winter moon. I pondered the words we had sung... ‘Joy to the world...The Lord is come...Let earth receive her King...’ An only son had been born tonight, bringing joy which could not be contained. They wanted to share it with the world...Kind of like the angels so long ago. God's only son, born on a night such as this...Yet more than just a babe He was...

I thought back a year, remembering my oldest brother pointing out the silhouette of Santa's reindeer crossing in front of the moon out my window. I was sure I saw it too! How could I sleep? But this year was different. I closed my eyes and slept so peacefully... I was not looking for reindeer...for I had heard the angels sing!”

Thank you for sharing that beautifully written story, Mary. And I wonder if one more coincidence occurred to you? That the person who gave us this inspiring story of a precious child born on Christmas Day was named “Mary.”

This time of year, one of the many great holiday songs we always hear is the late, great Glen Campbell’s “Christmas Is For Children.” That sentiment was also on the minds of many of my radio listeners whose most treasured memories of Christmas were tied to childhood – either their kids’ childhoods or their own

Some were of the “Kids Say The Darnedest Things” variety. For instance, Joe from Georgia recalled when his son was 7, their church had a pancake breakfast with a “Happy Birthday Jesus” cake for the kids, and the Lord’s Supper for adults during the Christmas Eve service. His son tugged his sleeve and asked, “Dad, why am I allowed to eat the Lord’s Breakfast but not His supper?”

An eternal theological question, my son!

There's something about the excitement of Christmas that makes children even more hilariously discombobulated. Cleve from New Mexico wrote, "At our house, we always opened our presents on Christmas morning. I remember the first year my daughters were really, really, really looking forward to Christmas. On Christmas Eve morning, they jumped out of bed, ran into the kitchen, and hollered, 'Today's the night we get up in the morning!!'"

Well, they were right: it was!

Dolores from Texas recalled that during the Depression, her parents gave her and her sister Betsy Wetsy dolls, and made a little suitcase and a whole wardrobe for them. Dolores said it was the “best Christmas ever!” The girls were so excited, they didn’t even realize until years later that those were actually their old dolls, all cleaned up. The moral: To a child, a gift doesn’t have to be new…just new to THEM.

Claudine from North Dakota shared this:

“When my kids were little, the church was getting together some toys, gifts and food items for a poor family who had just moved to our area at Christmas time. While looking in the pantry to see what we might have extras of, I asked my children what they would like to give. My daughter - then six years old - went to her room and brought down her Barbie doll complete with Barbie outfits, that she loved to play with. It was her only one. When I said, ‘Oh, honey, you don't have to give your favorite doll’, she said to me, ‘Mommy, if you just give what you don't want, it's not really giving, is it?’”

When you “give till it hurts,” as some people put it, it can actually feel pretty good. Thank you, Claudine, for reminding us that sometimes, parents can learn from children.

BettyJean from California had a favorite childhood Christmas memory that reminds us not to look a gift horse in the mouth. She wrote:

"I was born in 1928 in a small town in Montana. My mother died in 1929... (and) we were very poor...One Christmas my friend, Rex, whose parents had a restaurant in town, gave me a beautifully wrapped present. I was SOOOO EXCITED! Christmas Eve, my brother and I unwrapped our two presents. My brother watched me unwrap mine: a box of candy. And I can still hear him, 70 years later...yelling out, "DAAAAAD! THERE'S A PIECE GONE!!!!!"

I guess that proves little boys haven't really changed much in all these years!

Of course, Christmas is also a time when many of us former children experience the sadness of memories of parents who are no longer with us. I received many stories from people who were rocked by a flood of emotions at something as simple as coming across an old family decoration that their dad made, or the smell of a favorite family dish that mama used to cook. You never know what unlikely things might trigger overwhelming emotions.

For example, Linda from Texas recalled that her grandfather’s last Christmas gift to her dad just before he died was a shirt. He never wore that shirt. But he kept it hanging in his closet for the rest of his life, carefully preserved as a reminder of his dad.

Ellen from Oregon would understand that feeling. Her mother died of a brain tumor that had scrambled her thinking and sometimes made her a little exasperating. Just before Christmas, she made a big production of being driven to the post office to buy Christmas ornament postage stamps. She debated at great length before settling on the design, which she insisted on calling the “Jingle Bell stamps.” The postal clerk put three sheets of stamps in an onionskin envelope for her. Her mom proudly took them home, wrote “Christmas stamps” on the envelope, and displayed them on the windowsill for all to see. It seemed a little silly to Ellen at the time.

One month later, as she and her sisters were cleaning out their late mother’s house, Ellen came across her mom’s beloved Jingle Bells stamps in the onionskin envelope with her handwriting on it. She wrote, “I took them into the bathroom and cried.” She took the envelope with the remaining stamps home with her. Long afterward, when her husband needed a stamp, she opened the stamp drawer, saw them again, and cried again.

She began calling them the “Jingle Bell stamps,” too. There are only three stamps left, and there always will be. Ellen said she could never use them. She wrote:

“It’s almost as if when those stamps are gone, one more thread will be cut…But somehow I know I will never give up that little onion skin envelope. Whenever I buy stamps, it will always be in sheets, and I will always tuck them into that little onion skin envelope.”

Thank you for sharing that, Ellen. And please know that you are not alone. Many of us treasure things that might seem silly to others, but they hold value beyond gold to us. There’s no reason to be embarrassed about having a reminder of your mom in the stamp drawer. But it’s even better to know that we’ll always have memories of our loved ones who’ve left us tucked safely away in our hearts.

The greatest gift

December 24, 2021

One of the hardest jobs a parent faces is answering all those questions kids ask that sometimes force us to think about things that hadn’t occurred to us as adults. Mary from Ohio wrote:

“Our 6-year-old grandson, Isaiah, who was adopted from Guatemala, posed this question to his parents: ‘Was Baby Jesus adopted?’ Wow! The answer is so deep, and leads to so many other Biblical references to adoption. Joseph wasn't Jesus' father - God was, but Joseph raised him here on Earth. When we accept Jesus, we're adopted into His Heavenly Family, so we're all brothers and sisters. When we become a member of Jesus' family, we're also adopted into the Family of His chosen people, the Jews. So...it seems to me, not only was Jesus adopted, He was the author of Adoption. From the mouths of babes.”

Thank you, Mary. I have a feeling that as that special little boy has grown up, he’s given your family a lot to think about and a lot to be thankful for. And here’s a story that highlights another aspect of adoption, from the other point of view:

Tia from Kansas wrote that Christmas was always the hardest time of year to face, until she discovered a very personal connection to the true meaning of Christmas:

"When I was 16, I was alone and scared on Christmas -- having a baby that I decided to give up for adoption. For years afterward, I didn't like Christmas and never did much during the season. But the Lord changed my heart, showing me that I gave a beautiful gift to some family, my only son, just like He did. I've enjoyed and celebrated Christmas ever since."

Thank you, Tia. I know your son's adoptive parents would thank you a million times over, if they could, for the greatest Christmas gift they ever received. I’m sure Mary from Ohio would agree.

Prayer Tree - December 23

December 23, 2021

HEALTH & HEALING

"Pray for my Chronic Sisnusites. Been to ENT Naturalpath, Chiropractor ect. I have been anointed and prayed for still God hasn't healed this. Family doctor said I would have to live with this, it is not fatal. I have had this for years but seems to be getting worst. SO Pray for Robert from Sundridge!"

"My friend Denise needs a kidney transplant. She’s O+ and her husband is. Now we find out that something in her body will reject his kidney. She just got a port put in she’s 57 years old. I pray she has a match for a kidney soon. She’s not doing well. Thank you all for your prayers ????????????"

"Please pray for healing for our sister Karen G. We are praying that her metastatic pancreatic cancer that has spread to lymph nodes and her bile duct will be healed. She also has severe liver disease that we are praying for complete healing of her liver. Thank you for your prayers"

"Annie for good health"

"please pray for my daughter and her husband that they will get their hearts desire, a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby by this time next year."

"Pray for healing from cancer for Mark, Toni and Debbie"

"Pray for healing for Vicki...esophagitis and allergies.. also arthritis. Thank you"

"My left eye was damaged by cancer (optic nerve).My retia was also damaged. The retia got repaired by an excellent eye surgeon but nothing short of a miracle will get it back to normal. I would appreciate prayer in this matter. thank you , thank you, H. Latt, USA., Ret."

"Linda Brown cancer, Porter Swords m, 10 yr old with brain tumor."

"Jerry McIntosh, in hospital on vent with Covid, great Christian man, and Terri Evick in hospital for 60 days with pancreatitis, wonderful Christian lady."

"Denise fell from a ladder. Her knee is in a lot pain" 

"Dennis is 71. He has pulmonary fibrosis which leaves scar tissue on his lungs. It creates labored breathing. "

"Our daughter Camille has been having major anxiety / panic attacks even though a doctor ran very exacting tests on her that showed her as absolutely healthy. Pray that she quits listening to Satan's lies, and that she is truly healthy."

"Please pray for my close friend Cindy she has lymphoma and is having a rough go of it. Stage one. "

"I am a Type 1 Diabetic and I am finding it difficult recently to manage my blood sugar levels mostly I am having problems with low blood sugar readings"

"Heart issues. Looks like aortic valve replacement."

"My sister-in-law started chemotherapy for cancer this week. Please pray for her. "

"I ask prayer for myself, I was saved 26 years ago and I doubted it, the joy is gone and I don’t know where I am with God."

"John Cashion for doors to open to be self sufficient as a entrepreneur "

"Please pray for healing for my young adult daughter who has been bedridden 3 years now. She needs an overhaul of her spine and pelvis nerves! This happened while she was graduating college and she is heartbroken. Jesus is the Great Physician! Heal her Dear Lord! We believe!"

"My dear friend of almost 50 years is in the hospital with 4 broken ribs and CoVid. She is the kindest and most understanding person I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Plus, she is a devout Christian and I pray for her healing and eventual return to her home. Thank you!"

"Virginia , myself , am in desperate need for healing of my lungs ! I have experienced miracles in my life and need one now if it be Gods Holy Will! Amen"

"Help me, Jesus, not to be fearful that my cancer has come back. May my mammogram on December 27 be clear. I love you, O Lord, my strength, no matter what."

"Recently, a young, 22 yrs old, police officer, Tyler Moldovan, was shot 8 times responding to a call. He is in serious conditions and needs your, everyone’s, prayers."

"Please pray for my Dad and step-Mom as they battle the effects of aging. One has early stages of dementia and the other is battling post-Covid heart/lung ailments and crippling arthritis. In Jesus' name, thank you."

"Back in may my family cought the Covid (China) virus. Unfortunately, I being a medical very high risk individual who is a juvenile diabetic, dealing with high blood pressure, and kidney disease, had my organs temporarily faltering, was bleeding internally, and was on oxygen till July. With the prayers of so many true friends, and God's grace, I fully recovered! I simply wanted to take this opportunity to Thank my Lord and Savior, for staying by my side and answering all the prayers in my behalf! Thank You Jesus!"

IN MEMORIAM

"Richard Mulhare. 57 died after a 3 week coma. He leaves 3 children, the youngest a teenager. He was the epitome of a Christian. Such a great guy to know. "

Angels are watching over us

December 23, 2021

Molly from Washington has a story about how the angels are watching over us…and sometimes, they’re not too happy with what they see!

“I remember our Christmases at home. They were magical. Although we didn't have much the rest of the year, my mother would somehow transform our house and our lives into a magical wonderland once a year. There was always snow in Virginia, and there was always Christmas all around the town. Christmas meant that we would be getting our stockings filled with goodies that we rarely, if ever, got throughout the year. We would always have a small handful of nuts, a small handful of hard candies (green and white ribbons were my favorite!) and an orange. What more could you want?

The house was decorated with all of our treasures that we had collected over the years. Mama had a village that lit up and it twinkled on a bed of white snowy cotton. The tree had beautiful lights and all of the ornaments we had made and collected. At the very top of the tree was an angel. She had golden blonde hair and there were clear strands of thin plastic that shot out all around her. When we lit her up every Christmas, it was my favorite moment! She just shimmered and seemed to have an ethereal glow. I always felt like I had just found my long lost friend, and I knew that she would be watching over me. We always had a fresh tree, and the smell would fill the house. It was such a happy time!

It was almost Christmas of 1958. I was 11, and my brother, Jimmy, was 13. It was the first Christmas that I remember us being so excited. We didn't get a lot of presents or toys throughout the year so we always looked forward to getting our one present. This year, I was surprised to see that my brother and I had the exact same box under the tree. It was the same size, same weight, and was wrapped the same. When we shook them, they sounded the same too. There was no sound at all! We were hoping for a rattle or jingle that would give us a clue as to what was inside. Half of the fun was trying to figure out what it could be. We were truly puzzled this year. How could they buy us the same thing? He was a boy and I was a girl. The presents felt like they could have a book inside. I did not want a book for Christmas! I was always an avid reader and I did love books, but I could get them at the library or from a friend. I did not want to find a book under the tree. I decided I would just have to wait and find out.

It was two days before Christmas and my mother and stepfather went into town to do some shopping. That left Jimmy and me there alone. We were sitting there not long after they had driven out of the driveway when Jimmy suddenly had a brainstorm. Why not open the presents and see what we were getting? He was sure he could do it so nobody would know. I told him that I didn't think that was a good idea. We would surely be caught and then it would ruin our holiday. He said he was going to do it anyway. He went to the tree and began to slowly and very gently pull the tape off of one end of the present. I was watching from a distance and when he said he had it nearly open, I couldn't stand it anymore and I ran over to see what was inside. As he pulled back the paper from the end of the package, we both let out a squeal! It was a transistor radio! We were thrilled! We carefully put the tape back and put the present right where it had been.

I looked up and there was the angel staring right at me! I had just committed a great sin and all in her presence. It felt like her eyes were burning into my soul! Oh, if only I could redo the last few minutes! But it was too late. I had sinned and there was no way to change it!

Christmas morning came and everyone went downstairs to begin the celebration. I opened my sock first and popped a piece of candy in my mouth. It was so good. I was so thrilled to get some treats and I always made them last as long as I could. Then it was time to open our present. I ripped mine open and tried to look very surprised and excited. I felt so bad! I felt like a thief and liar. I was feeling so guilty and it felt like I had a 50-pound weight hanging on my back and I could not get rid of it. As I sat there, I looked up at my beautiful angel and I felt her eyes upon me once again. There seemed to be sadness in her eyes. I asked her to please forgive me. I never enjoyed the radio as much as I would have if I had waited until Christmas morning to open it! It was like a constant reminder that I was a liar! As we all gathered around the table to eat our wonderful dinner, I felt my stomach drop and I couldn't eat very much at all. I loved Christmas dinner almost as much as I enjoyed getting a present, but this year, I just couldn't get an appetite.

The following year, I waited until Christmas morning, and I got a nice coat with a fur collar. I was thrilled! My brother suggested peeking again, but I told him that I was never going to do that again! I had learned my lesson, and it was one that would last me a lifetime! I looked up at my angel, and she seemed to be glowing brighter than ever! And she seemed to have a much more peaceful look on her face. I knew then that I was forgiven, and I promised her that I would never peek at presents again!”

Thank you, Molly, for that reminder that it’s not just Santa Claus who’s watching over us to see if we’re naughty or nice.

We have survived hard times

December 23, 2021

These last two years have been tough for many people, but Anita in New Mexico reminds us that we have survived hard times before:

“In the 1950's, my stepfather suffered a severe illness. Christmas had always been "light weight", although we didn't know it; there was love to go around and a great dinner.

On Christmas Eve, the doorbell rang and there stood a group of church people, not from our church, with gifts, some wrapped, others were secondhand, but they were new to us!!!! There were more gifts than we had ever seen before, and my mother made sure some went to other homes.

I hadn't experienced such a love of giving before, and it always makes my memories of Christmas special to the point that I enjoy helping where I can and just enjoying the day with my husband with food and remembering exactly what the day is all about.”

Jerry from Florida also shared a memory of a hard time Christmas that was made wonderful by the generosity of others:

“My greatest Christmas was when I was five years old. My mother had taken my brother, sister and myself away from an abusive father, and we were on our own. To say we were poor would be an understatement. My mom rented an old house, and she supported us on a waitress’s wages. She refused to accept welfare and told us that as long as we had each other and love that we would make it. We had our own garden and even as small kids worked to help. We had so very little. Quite often, we had to drink powdered milk and eat bread and gravy three times a day. A hot dog was considered a luxury.

Christmas that year looked bleak. We had no money, but it was the happiest time of my life because we had love. Love of family and neighbors. There was one present for each of us kids that Christmas Eve as we went to bed.

On Christmas morning, we all came down to open our present. An unbelievable sight awaited us. We got to the door of the living room and our eyes widened. There were so many toys and presents that you couldn’t even hardly get in the room. Toy trucks!! Bicycles!!! Our joy and surprise were great.

We lived in a small town…Williamsfield, Illinois. Our neighbors knew we had so little. After us kids had gone to bed on Christmas Eve, the knocks on the door started. People from all over town brought things. That is the type of people I had the honor to grow up with. No government. No welfare. Just neighbors helping neighbors by living the Christian values we were all taught.

I think of that Christmas morning so long ago today and still get a smile and a tear. It was the greatest Christmas I ever had.

My mom went on to remarry to a great guy who adopted us. They worked hard to provide us a better life and live the American Dream. Mom went back to college after we were older and at the age of 38 graduated Summa Cum Laude and taught school for years. Today they live comfortably in retirement.

I think of those days and how poor we were, but I also think of the values instilled in me by a loving mother and a great community. Values that taught us about self-reliance and helping your neighbor. These were the greatest lessons learned from my greatest Christmas.”

Thank you, Anita and Jerry, for that reminder of what a difference it makes to have churches and communities that gather together to help those who are in need. We need that more than ever now, if our politicians would just stop waging war on our churches and communities.