It is the season of giving gifts.

I am always blown away by the generosity of others.  Since the first year of handing out little gifts made of Christmas Cards at the hospital, people have jumped on board, saving old Christmas Cards, and stitching them together. 

Every year now for the last five years we have handed out these hand-crafted Christmas stockings recycled out of old cards.  They are “stuffed” with a hand-made bookmark and a candy-cane and bring cheer to those who would receive it.  It is a small thing but it is precious.  Last year we handed out around 400.

The first year I spend hours making them, now they land up on my door-step, or in my office… dozens at a time… little stockings ready for the giving.  It is beautiful, generous gift of time and love.

Last Sunday I rounded up a wonderful crew who helped me to stuff this year’s paper stockings.  And they are ready to go!

The generosity doesn’t stop there.  I wrote about my friend in a story printed in “Christmas with Hot Apple Cider”. (Published in the fall of 2017).  My friend supplies me with beautiful ornaments and little gifts each year to hand out to those who need it most.  These gifts bring an extra measure of cheer and love to those who find themselves in hospital during the Christmas Season.

This story, called “The Christmas Ornaments”, is one of a collection of stories in this book, and tells of how we handed out these little ornaments in our local hospital and even hung them on IV poles.  It was a privilege to share about this wonderful gift-giving in this lovely book of Christmas stories and poems, all written by Canadian authors.

And there is more…  some of the most treasured gifts I receive year round are the beautifully crafted prayer shawls and quilts that I give to those whom I meet – it might be for those who are grieving, or someone with a new and difficult diagnosis.  One precious woman to whom I gave a shawl kept it close to her until the day she died… for her it was a treasure, and reflected the presence of God comforting her in her last days on earth.  These stories always move me, and I’m grateful for those who sew and knit, stitch by stitch, prayerfully and lovingly crafting a gift that will be a symbol of love and comfort. 

Another dear friend puts toiletry items together in bags which I am able to pass on to Social workers to give to those in hospital in need of these items.  Others supply me with crayons and new little stuffies to put in bags for children waiting in the ER.  Others create cloth bags to put these treasures in.  Anther artist friend has supplied me with beautiful little books to add to those bags, especially for the children.

All of these beautiful gifts are tangible reminders of a caring heart, of those who want to make a difference in real tangible ways.

As Advent approaches, it is good to think of the simple things we can do to show love to others.  It might be as simple as a smile, or a phone call, or checking in with someone who has been having a difficult time. 

And I want to THANK YOU… to all who have donated and given – some have given money to buy supplies, others old Christmas Cards, others have spent much time and resources creating resources.  Each is a generous gift and I am grateful.

This time of year can be hard.  This season evokes emotions for many.  I find what brings the most joy is to bring joy to others, and as you can see I am very blessed indeed, by the community of generous givers I find myself among. 

I’m reminded of this little verse from Galatians 6 which says:  “Let us not become weary in doing good, for a the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Here is more information on the book, “Christmas with Hot Apple Cider”, which is published by “That’s Life! Communications”, edited by N.J. Linquist.
I have copies available from my website or you can purchase them from me personally.  (I have a limited supply).  They are also available on Amazon.

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