Last Christmas, I spent a day sightseeing in New York City. As I went through Rockefeller Center, I excitedly stopped as I saw two young women dancing in front of a Salvation Army kettle. I got out my wallet and put in the only cash I had on hand. One of them stopped and thanked me, and I was on my way. Not a minute later on the other side of the plaza, I bumped into two more dancing kettle workers, except this time, I didn’t have any cash!
Obviously it’s only God that knows our heart, and we don’t have to drop money into every red kettle we see. But imagine how supported and encouraged those volunteers would feel as they give up their time—and maybe the feeling in their feet—as they raise money. When I’m standing in the cold, I’m grateful for any amount given.
I’d like to challenge you this year to be a force of encouragement. Whether you have $10, $50, or $5, break it down into change or small bills. Every time you see a kettle worker, take out a small bill and encourage them with a “Merry Christmas,” and thank them for their hard work.
I remember helping with Christmas toy distributions in my parents’ first appointment as corps officers. The owner of an empty storefront downtown donated the space for the season, and that store was converted into a Christmas wonderland, where families could come for assistance. I remember spending hours sorting toys after school, and the countless volunteers who made Christmas a happy time for those families in need.
A lot of work goes into helping others; your corps officer may be struggling with all the details they have to handle at the corps, never mind preparing for their own family. Even one helper to a busy officer can be a God-send. Get a few friends together, call up your officer, and pick out a few days this month to help with what they need: packing bags, standing kettles, maybe even answering phones and scheduling appointments. Not only will you be a needed help and encouragement, but you’ll be helping provide a merry Christmas to those less fortunate.
It can be easy to get caught up with all the busyness and preparations, and think, “Well, we’ll all be together on Christmas.” I encourage you to take time together with your family and friends now! I recommend using “Spend Christmas Together” from Bible.com. This study is 25 days of focusing on the real reason for the season—our time with loved ones and the baby who would become the Savior of the world.
Find out on youngsalvationist.org.
—Rachael Boynton | Spring Valley Corps | Greater New York