All of us drag memories through life; some good, some not so good, and some haunt our present days. Some memories prompt a smile, while others trigger deep pain. Often our memories are tied to special events and milestones in our lives. For most of us, we carry sharp memories that are attached to the holidays, and more specifically, to Christmas.
In my life, I carry a bundle of memories that are forever connected to Christmas. I have some painful memories, and also some pretty amazing recollections from both my own childhood and from the childhoods of my children. There was the freezing cold Christmas when Judah received a dirt bike and tried to ride it in the bitter wind. And the times when my children chose to forgo their Christmas presents and to give instead so that children in impoverished regions of the world could have clean water. I remember candlelit Christmas Eve services, and the wonderment of Christmas morning. We cannot detach Christmas from the banks of our memories.
Our concern this month is the manner in which the boys here at Youth-Reach will remember the Christmas of 2019. Will it forever be a bitter memory of a time when they were separated from family and had to endure a Christmas in a dreary boy’s home? Or will they remember the joy and peace they felt, along with the generosity they encountered? This is what has us thinking of ways to demonstrate grace this Christmas.
You see, most of the boys we have here arrived due to negative choices and poor decisions on their part. They sometimes view being here at Youth-Reach as punitive, and as the hard consequence of their actions. To some degree this is true and that truth is unavoidable, but this opens the door for us to demonstrate the breathtaking mystery of grace, where instead of receiving the punishment that we have earned, we are instead lavished with forgiveness and blessings. This grace is way beyond just amazing.
This has inspired us to find ways to mirror grace to our boys, and for them to receive that which will grant them a memory of Christmas 2019 that cannot be equated with pain or loss. We have plans for parties, celebrations, special outings, gifts and opportunities that just might have them wishing they could stay for another Christmas or two. Even through Thanksgiving they were pretty astounded by all they received so we cannot wait to make this Advent season a memory that will be sparked again and again for the rest of their lives.
Thank you for being a part of the team of people who make all of this possible. Your giving to Youth-Reach is impactful beyond words, and your sacrifice does not go unnoticed. We are a grateful people, mindful every day that we only serve because of the provision of God through His obedient kids. And from all of us here at Youth-Reach, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!