” . . . remembered . . .”
“My heart praises the Lord; my soul is glad because of God my Savior, for he has remembered me, his lowly servant!” (Luke 1:46-48)

If you’re reading this today, “Merry Christmas!”  What do you see when you look at this picture?  I guess you might say it looks like our church gym full of around 300 empty boxes, but you’d be wrong.  It’s around 300 boxes that were filled to the brim and delivered Christmas Eve.  What you might see if you look closely enough are the 300 families enjoying a Christmas dinner with the rest of us and children unwrapping gifts that went out in big black trash bags (posing as Santa’s bag) with several of the boxes.  There are probably over a thousand folks celebrating Christmas with us today because many folks took time to remember. 

Yes, these are the boxes distributed by Tyler Mountain/Cross Lanes Community Services.  It’s a community service organization sponsored and supported by many churches, businesses, civic organizations, and individuals in our community.  The boxes went out because many folks did one simple thing.  They took time to remember – to remember that there really are people struggling to get by in our community.  Most of the time the struggling are hidden.  Some suggest they do not even exist in our community.  Many of those struggling are working one or two low-paying jobs and still barely making it.  Some of them have fallen on hard times from accidents, physical ailments, and job loss.  Some of them struggle with mental health issues that radically complicate their lives.  Some of them . . . There are so many different reasons and so many stories.  Here’s one thing for certain – we can’t look at this picture without celebrating what was given – and being called to remember when we go forth from Christmas that there are this many and more that will continue to struggle in our community through January, February, March . . .

I look at these boxes and am reminded of all the organizations and individuals all over the world who have remembered those who are impoverished and struggling during this Christmas season.  Literally, millions have remembered and millions are struggling.  By remembering now we are admitting that the impoverished are in our midst.  By admitting that they exist, we’re also acknowledging they need more than just a hand out.  They need economic justice as well.  They need to be remembered with opportunities to make it on their own.  Some call it a “hand up” instead of just a “hand out.”  Others might simply call it justice. 

In the Gospel of Luke Mary, the soon to be mother of Jesus says, “My heart praises the Lord; my soul is glad because of God my Savior, for he has remembered me, his lowly servant! What a powerful experience it is to be remembered!  Many of our volunteers saw that for themselves on Christmas Eve.  They saw joy on the faces of those who received the boxes and bags the volunteers delivered.  I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that unless we continue to remember, more will suffer as they get lost in the shadows of poverty.  Today as you celebrate with others remember that in the sending of the Christ Child to be with us, God has remembered us and has called us to remember.  I pray that God will help me to remember.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church
Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit
My new book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at and

Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”

~ by revgenelson on December 25, 2013.

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