December 21, 2008

Christmas 2008 – “the least of these”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Michael Wright @ 5:02 pm

When you refused to help the least of these my brothers, you were refusing help to me” (Matthew 25:45, The Living Bible).

Christmas 2008 has been special to me in some different ways. Sometimes I write a “Christmas e-mail” and update our friends and family on our family and how everyone is doing. Shawna did that for us this year while I was out-of-town on a business trip last week. She wrote a very nice e-mail and shared it with several different people. So, I decided to write my Christmas thoughts and post them to my blog. So, here goes…

This year we participated in Operation Christmas Child in cooperation with our church and with our dear friends, the Fuchs. We got together back in November with the Fuchs and made an evening out of preparing the shoeboxes, making cards, etc. It was a wonderful evening and it was so nice to show our children the importance of giving something to “the least of these.” OCC is a very worthwhile project, and if you’ve never participated I would challenge you to consider doing so next year. Make OCC a part of your family’s Christmas traditions.

This past week, I had to go to St. Louis for my employer, Associates Solutions, Inc. I was a little apprehensive about making this business trip. It has been at least three years since I traveled for my job. I know we’ve added two children to the family and I knew it was going to be an extra load for Shawna to have me gone for two days. None-the-less, duty called, so I went on the trip. My trip involved working with one of our clients, Ranken Jordan (A Pediatric Children’s Hospital). I just have to say, this was the best two days (so far) of my job as a software consultant! I know God orchestrated the timing of my trip…and He protected my family while I was gone and kept His hand upon me while I traveled. We’ve had plenty of snowy weather already this year and I was worried I would get caught in another winter storm. But, God even kept that from happening. I was able to drive both directions on totally dry pavement! I thank God for His help. Let me tell you why Ranken Jordan was so special to me.

First of all, it is a specialty hospital that takes care of convalescent children. They are one of five of this type of hospital in the entire United States! Anything that involves children grabs at my heart strings. I thank God for my four children, but I’m also thankful for every opportunity I have to love on other children. I have some special girls that I consider my nieces…and almost every time I see them I’m blessed with a big hug from them…just like they are my own girls! God has given me a soft spot for little girls (good thing, since I have three of my own!). So, from the get go I was excited about working for a facility that takes care of children. You can read more about what Ranken Jordan does by clicking on the link above and viewing their website.

The second thing that was so neat about this trip and this hospital were the people I was privileged to work with. I worked with four ladies for the two days I was there. They were some of the kindest people I’ve ever worked with. It didn’t take but just a couple of hours for me to feel like I had known them and worked with them for years! It is always special when God allows us to meet and work with people who are so kind. It sure makes my job something more than just a j-o-b! Working with people like this always challenges me to make sure I’m kind and pleasant to work with as well. We really can be refreshing to others just by always displaying a kind and sweet attitude.

The third thing that I liked was the experience I had on Friday while at the hospital. At 10 AM, the city of Maryland Heights, MO brought Santa Claus to the hospital. This is a yearly Christmas tradition and something that really moved me emotionally. The police department shuts down the main road in front of the hospital and they escort S.C. to the hospital in a PT Cruiser. The children at the hospital absolutely love this day! From what I could tell, the employees think it is pretty special as well! I was told by the CEO that this was the best day of the year at the hospital. I’m glad I was able to be there and share in the excitement. The police went shopping for items that the children in the hospital either needed or wanted. They brought the paddy wagon to the hospital full of presents for these children, approximately 30 of them. With the police dogs and all the policeman gathered in the gymnasium at the hospital I stood and watched as each child was presented his/her gifts by Mr. & Mrs. Santa Claus. It was so special. It truly visualized one of the most important aspects of Christmas…doing something for “the least of these.”

My Christmas experience of reaching out to others was completed last night when we visited Ruby Woods, a dear lady we’ve known now for about 5 years. She is 89 years old and physically incapacitated to the point where she cannot get out of her house. She lives in the country down near Ottawa, KS. Shawna and I took the 4 kids and went to her house last evening for a visit. It was one of our coldest nights so far…and it surely wasn’t very fun being out in the country with 4 kids, including a 5 month old baby when it was 13 degrees outside! But, I know that Ruby sure enjoyed our visit. We took her goodies that we had made and a picture of our girls for her refrigerator. This makes me think about the pain and inconvenience that Mary and Joseph were willing to go through in order for God’s plan for my redemption to be complete. I’m thankful that Mary wasn’t afraid of the pain, or the cold, or the dirt of the stable. May I never be unwilling to inconvenience myself for the good of reaching out to “the least of these.”

I trust each of you have a very Merry Christmas!


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