Christmas in our ward brings a whole host of opportunities for service and showing love for our brothers and sisters. We have many new converts who are recent immigrants from West Africa. They are doing their best to make a home for their families and to provide for them as well as they can, but extra money for Christmas presents is not usually within their means. That is where the rest of us step in.
Our Relief Society president makes a list of the families who need Christmas and then ward members pick a family and do the shopping. I take a different approach. I call my mom and sisters' wards in Utah and present them with the opportunity to serve. Their wards are more financially able than our student/new member ward and often don't get to be a part of such service so they are excited for the opportunity to help. This year Keri's ward is providing for five families (16 kids). Mom came out to do shopping for Christmas baskets that are provided for many of the families as well.
Boxes have been showing up on my porch all week. I act as the coordinator and distributer for whatever is sent from Utah. It is the coolest thing! I get to witness first hand the generosity of members of the church for complete strangers who live 2,000 miles away. I also get to see the joy and gratitude of our ward members as they receive these unexpected gifts. This is what the Christmas season should be for everyone!