Christmas 2020 Style–Masks and a Drive-Through Line
By LORETTA FULTON
Perhaps nothing illustrates the year 2020 like a group of volunteers, all wearing masks, standing in the cold to hand out Christmas packages to families in a drive-through line.
Masks and drive-through lines, to avoid close contact, became the norm in 2020, the Year of COVID. As the year progressed, so did the number of cases and hospitalizations locally and nationally. But progressing alongside the effects of the disease was the creativity of people of goodwill as they found innovative ways to make sure COVID didn’t have the last word.
No where was that more evident than in local churches, where volunteers stood in the cold–or the heat of summer–to comply with social distancing protocols while at the same time serving the community.
On Sunday afternoon, Dec. 13, Cristi Stanton, minister of children at Pioneer Drive Baptist Church, led a merry band of volunteers as they handed out “Happy Birthday, Jesus” bags to families of pre-schoolers and “Christmas in a Bag” to families with older children as they drove through the parking lot.
“Do you see one you like better?” Stanton asked as a child looked over the bags. “No? Then we’re going with this one.”
The pre-school bags were filled with all the makings for a birthday party for Jesus, including a cake mix, and family activities.
The bags for the older children contained hot chocolate mix and a cup, decorated cookie,Christmas scavenger hunt, and an Advent booklet of daily meditations written by church members. The meditation for Dec. 21 was written by a fifth-grader, Andrew.
The meditation was selected as the basis for an “Advent Adventure” activity that was included in the bag. Titled, “God’s Plan for All of Us,” the meditation was based on Colossians 3:12:
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
Andrew told of being assigned permanent seating in the school cafeteria. He picked a seat next to some guys he thought were OK, but it turned out they talked badly about others and sometimes talked about unsavory topics.
“I was really disappointed about having to sit next to these guys and their ugly talk for the rest of the school year,” Andrew wrote, “until I looked at the situation through a different lens.”
His mom reminded him that God has a purpose for everyone and perhaps his purpose was to be a friend and good influence to those guys he was seated next to.
“We never know when or how God will use us,” Andrew wrote,”but we always have to be prepared to open our hearts, even to those who we may not like much at first.”
Loretta Fulton is creator and editor of Spirit of Abilene