Make Christmas truly merry by giving

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The Pastoral Association of Milton-Freewater meets once a month, on the second Wednesday. As we gathered for the November meeting, we were informed of a new ministry opportunity in Milton-Freewater.

A Giving Tree was to be put up in the foyer of Baker Boyer Bank, 320 N. Columbia St. The tree will hold cards representing children who might not receive a gift on Christmas Day.

You can take the card, buy a gift for a 12-year-old boy, a 10-year-old girl or whomever is on the card you select. You then return the gift, unwrapped, to the bank with the tag on it. The gifts will be wrapped and given to the children.

Although I am excited about this giving tree, it is not the only in our area. Walla Walla has several trees I know of to bless the people.

There is a Hospice Giving Tree in the lobby of Die Brcke Building at 38 E. Main St., with the Candle Lighting Ceremony at 7 p.m. Dec. 11.

The Senior Giving Tree is also in Die Brcke Building.

The Salvation Army's Giving Tree and Angel Toy Drive is located at Inland Octopus, 7 E. Main St.

Jesus had a soft spot in his heart for children. He took the little children into his arms and blessed them, every one.

Consider the words of Matthew 19:13-15: "Then the little children were being brought to him in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray.

"The disciples spoke sternly to those who brought them; but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come unto me,and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.' And he laid his hands on them and went on His way."

I cannot tell you why the disciples tried to keep the children from Jesus. My best guess is that he was tired from travel or ministry.

It is readily apparent that Jesus Christ had a great desire to bless and minister to these children and the parents who brought them.

Jesus also raised Jairus' daughter from the dead when the child was only 12, thus blessing the child and her parents.

When the disciples were acting all too human and arguing over which of them would be the greatest, Jesus calls a child to himself and folds his loving arms around the small child and tells them, "If you want to be first, you must be the very last, and the servant of all."

It's wonderful to realize and see Jesus' love and ministry to children, which brings to mind those wonderful Christmases of our youth.

Can you remember those special Christmases when you were a child? I think back, too many years, to those wonderful Christmases that meant so much to me.

The Robin Hood hat that made me a lad of Sherwood. The toy gun that made me Marhsal Matt Dillon and a 10-year-old hero.

Why don't you think back to some of your special Christmases, and let the smiles come, that those fond memories bring?

We have millions of people unemployed in our nation right now.

We are in a recession's recession, and some people need a helping hand.

On Christmas, we remember the child who became our Savior and brought love to the world.

On Christmas, let's help a child receive a gift that says "I love you."

Let's help a parent or parents, who need a hand. John said, "They will know we are Christians by our love."

If you can afford to, I pray that you will help a child this Christmas. It certainly seems like something that Jesus would want us to do.

Jesus also said in a quote remembered in Acts 20:35 "it is more blessed to give than receive."

May this be a very blessed Christmas for you and yours.

The Rev. Roland Shanks is pastor of Central Christian Church, 66 S. Palouse St., Walla Walla. Contact him by calling 509-525-950. Pastors in the U-B circulation area who want to write a column should call Catherine Hicks at 509-526-8312 or email her at catherinehicks@wwub.com.

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