As a child growing up without a dad I spent a lot of Christmas' wondering if we'd have presents. Not because my Grandma and Grandpa's Taylor and Schultz didn't make sure we had something but because my mom was pretty broke. After divorcing a mentally ill and abusive man to save us children and herself, money was extremely tight. I'm sure my mom spent many years working for her friend Ginny so we could have something under the Christmas tree. I've often wondered if there were years when Ginny just bought the stuff and gave it to Mom to make sure we had something. My aunts and uncle in Missouri always sent something and so did Grandma Schultz and Olen so we didn't go without and so they'd know they were thinking of us. Even if we didn't get to see them as often as we all would have liked.
My mom loves us very much and she worked hard to make sure she made us stuff or had something for us under the tree, but there were also several Christmas' where she just couldn't make ends meet right. One year a couple who lived across the street from us must have known somehow that it was going to be slim pickings for Christmas because Mom was in college working on her Master's Degree in Chapter One Reading and they came over with arm loads of presents. My aunts and uncle in Missouri always sent something and so did Grandma Schultz and Olen so we didn't go without and so they'd know they were thinking of us.
One year a church group showed up with a month's supply of food. Interestingly enough we had just gone shopping with our food stamps and yet we still had room for the food they brought over. My mom did a great job making sure we didn't feel like we were going without. At least I never felt like we were going without. I knew we didn't have enough cash to do the things the kids at school did, and while it probably should have bothered me, it didn't. It wasn't until I was older that it bothered me when people would open loads of presents and we usually had one gift and that was it. While I tried not to let it get to me, it dd bother me a little bit. I didn't understand how it was that some people got so many presents while others went without.
This season there are a lot of children living with very little, much like my family when I was young and our family last year while Chris was unemployed. Many families are becoming homeless or the children are in foster care because the parents can no longer provide for them and give them food, clothing and shelter, much less a Christmas. A great foundation that helps these families and these children is Bethel Foundation in Oklahoma City, OK. This year they have over 2,000 families struggling and in need and they need us to help them. I know some of you are reading this and wondering what you can do, but trust me when I tell you that even the little bit you can donate or offer to do for Bethel will help. You have a chance to make a difference and to make a child's Christmas. So please dig deep in your heart and listen for God's voice. Make a difference, help change a child's Christmas.
Maureen Myers Koeppel