Every day, The Salvation Army in locations all around the world, and in your local community, send out bell ringers, red kettles, and shiny bells out into the world in the hopes that the general public would be generous. Each day these empty buckets go out empty. The plan is for them to come back full.
The empty kettles mean full lives.
The Red Kettle campaign originated in San Francisco, CA many years ago as a way for The Salvation Army to feed people a holiday meal. Today, it still provides meals. It also helps provide toys, clothing, utility assistance, prescription assistance, emergency sheltering, weeks at camp, disaster assistance, and many other life-changing services. The Red Kettle campaign also allows the Army to reach the people with the Good News of Jesus Christ as we celebrate His birth.
Every evening I see these full kettles come back. The money gets taken out of them. The empty kettles mean full lives. I try not to see the kettles. I try to see the kid who will go to camp this summer. I try to see the family that can stay in their homes because the electricity is still on. I try to see the man who is down on his luck that does not have to sleep on the street tonight. Empty kettles mean full lives.
Throughout this kettle season, as I have traveled around, people have greeted me and shared that they put something into a kettle. One of the familiar phrases that is often repeated is that “I wish it could be more.” Believe me when I tell you that every little bit helps! Every little bit is counted! Every little bit changes lives! Empty kettles mean full lives.
To all of you who have donated to a kettle this year, thank you! To all of you that meant to donate to a kettle, thank you! To all of you who wanted to donate to a kettle, thank you! Because of you, the kettles get full and every evening they become empty again. Empty kettles mean full lives.
Merry Christmas! Soli Deo Gloria!
Let Them Ring the Bells
by June Noble
December 13, 2014
When it is the holiday season
And the spirit is glowing brightly
It is also a time of great dire
For the poor and hungry
Their only salvation
And the guiding light
Are the red kettles and shields
And the chiming of the bells
It takes a special army
Of people young or old
Stationed at stores everywhere
Ringing the bell to signal everyone
As the change falls in the kettles
It is like a river
Of love and kindness
To the people that needs it the most
Let them ring the bells
It brings hope to the hungry
Let them ring the bells
It brings light to the poor
It takes kindness
To donate into the red kettles
It takes courage
To stand in the cold of winter
It takes commitment
To stand up proudly
It takes spirit
To make a difference in the world
Let them ring the bells
This was written by a 2014 bell ringer and presented to me.
The day of Epiphany is twelve days after Christmas at the end of the season known as Christmastide.
The Christian feast day celebrates that celebrates the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ (Wikipedia). This revelation of God’s humanity is one of the greatest triumphs of Christianity.
Normally, when a people or a culture idolize a person, that person is usually depicted as strong and indestructable, powerful. We picture conquerors, commanders, and conquistadors (hey, I was going with the alliteration thing). We elevate our heroes. We put them on pedestals. Even the term idolize conveys a sense of worship.
Our hero, our leader, went from divinity to humanity, from everything to nothing, from the highest to the lowest. Jesus became human, so humans could become like Him.
So, if our highest goal is to become more like Jesus, if our endgame is to be like Him, if He is the perfection to which we are traveling towards, then we must first acknowledge our own humanity. But through that humanity recognize the spark of divine that is in each one of us.
Thank you, Lord, for the day of Epiphany! Thank you for your humanity! Thank you for you divinity! Thank you, Emmanuel, for being with us!
After having lunch today with my friend, Garrett Andrew, and listening to him share his sermon from the past Sunday, I could not get the thought of “Reclaiming Santa Claus” out of my head. I have included a link to Garrett’s sermon at the bottom of this post.
One of the thrusts of Garrett’s sermon was that we need to “reclaim” the idea of the true nature of Saint Nicholas and what he stood for and why he was a saint in the first place. Saint Nicholas, known commonly as Santa Claus, is the patron saint of children. The story of Saint Nicholas includes many miracles and the most important ones include service to children and families.
Our idea of Santa Claus does emanate from this saint but we have lost the true sense of what made the life and story of Saint Nicholas so special.
The thought and understanding of giving a gift without receiving one is the true definition of Santa Claus. Looking out for the less fortunate and downtrodden, not for our benefit, but because we are called to it is the true definition of Santa Claus. Making the welfare of others more important than how we see ourselves is the true definition of Santa Claus.
This Christmas in my own struggles with how I understand Christmas there needs to be a chance to “reclaim Santa Claus” in my own life!
Soli Deo Gloria!
The link to Garrett’s sermon: