A Memorable Christmas for our Children’s Shelter
Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
Christmas time at a children’s shelter can be a very stressful time for many reasons. The main reason is that Christmas is a time to spend with those you love and to share the love of Jesus with your family – and quite frankly, not everyone has “happy” family memories to treasure.
I can’t remember the presents I received as a child, but I remember the memories made with my family. I remember going to my Aunt’s home, where my cousins and I tried out all our new toys. I remember the times leading up to Christmas with our family traditions. When I think of Christmas, I think of love and family. So, to put myself in the shoes of one of our children breaks my heart.
I can’t imagine having to spend Christmas in a shelter with no family to share in the joy. I can’t imagine having the Christmas break without going to numerous activities with my family. So, with this burden in my heart, Christmas becomes a stressful event, trying to be sure the children will have a memorable Christmas – even if they are in a shelter.
Much prayer goes into this holiday. Even though presents are not the meaning of Christmas, it is one of the ways a child recognizes how much they are loved. Thanks be to God that year after year He provides us with an abundance of presents, leaving these children screaming “Thank You Jesus” every time.
This year, during our open house I met a family who wanted to be a blessing to our children. They said that God has blessed them and their business, and they knew they needed to give back. They shared with me the same burden on my heart namely, to give these children a Christmas that would fill their heart with an abundance of love. God placed in their heart a desire to bless us beyond what we could imagine.
At the time we did not know what would be donated, but I did know God had always provided. With much prayer, God laid on my heart to give these children an experience for Christmas that they would never forget. Christmas morning came and the amount of presents really showed how loved these children are. But after all the presents were opened, I had one final surprise for them. Each child received a stocking and stuffed inside each stocking was a ticket to Disney!
But that’s not all! God had provided a way to give these children a three-day vacation to Disney! Many of these children will never have the opportunity to experience a real vacation getaway, and God was about to change that for these 12 children. We were able to rent a giant vacation home in a resort. It had 13 bedrooms – enough for all of us! There was our own private pool and hot tub along with our own big screen movie theatre. The resort included a water park which they children started their vacation at! The screams of joy will live on in each of their hearts for years and years to come.
We spent two full days at Disney and rode all the rides their little hearts could manage! God provided much more than a memorable Christmas; He provided these children a real family vacation to treasure the rest of their lives. We had the matching T-shirts and everything! Those three days we were not just a group of shelter kids and staff, we were family.
I am so grateful that the Lord provided such a blessed trip for these children, and I know my heart is forever changed because of it! And on our last day we received one more reminder that this was all from the Lord. We looked up and saw a skywriting airplane revealing the words, “Jesus loves you!”