PDG+ Operation Christmas
Christmas 2016 is a mere 6 days away and many of us have finished our shopping and are settling in and readying ourselves for the onslaught of travel, food, relatives, football, more food, presents and, hopefully, fun. We have our traditions to follow which typically include our favorite food, games and sometimes even down to particular stocking stuffers. In our family it is tradition to attend the Christmas Eve service at our church, then go home and open gifts from each other. On Christmas morning we anticipate waking up to whatever Santa has left under our tree and in our stockings, enjoy some breakfast and then settle down to a football game on the TV with the smells of Christmas dinner wafting through the house. Other families have their own traditions and we all tend to pass them down through the generations. Unfortunately, sometimes our traditions come to a screeching halt. For the residents at the Lighthouse Outreach Center in Bartlesville, the traditions they grew up with probably will not take place this year. For whatever reason, they find themselves away from home and family and will be spending Christmas with new acquaintences at The Lighthouse. This Christmas the team at PDG made the decision to spend a morning cooking and serving lunch for these folks as part of our team Christmas event. Once lunch had been served, we took the opportunity to sit down and visit with several of them. Their stories aren't that different from our own, life just threw them a hardball and they are spending some time at a Christian based shelter who chooses to be a beacon in the dark and bring light to those in need. in fact their mantra since opening in 1992 has been "Helping the Least, the Lost and the Lonely". This message continues today under the leadership of Pastor Errol Hada, who has been serving as Director since 2013.
Do not judge my story by the chapter you walked in on. - Unknown
"Maybe Christmas", he thought, "doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!" - The Grinch
I could regurgitate some rhetoric here about how spending time at The Lighthouse helped me see how fortunate I am and how much more I appreciate where I am in life, opposed to what we saw and heard from the Lighthouse residents. While that does hold some truth, I also want you to know that not one person there whined or lamented on where they are in life, but rather sat and visited with us telling us stories of where they have been and sometimes what brought them to where they are in life. They expressed thanks to us many times for the meal we prepared and served to them. They helped set the tables, helped clean up afterward and insisted on helping carry in the groceries when we arrived. One of them using a crutch, but still managing to carry a few bags and came back for more. They are thankful for where they are. They are thankful for being taken in and provided 3 meals a day and a warm bed to sleep in. They are thankful for a place to do laundry and clothes to wash. They are thankful. So what did I take away from our few hours spent at The Lighthouse? I learned that I take too much for granted. That I complain too much and I need nothing. I learned how blessed we are as a community to have this ministry available to those who need it and I was reminded that we should look beyond ourselves this Christmas and find someone to talk to who is truly thankful for where they are in life - even if the world sees things differently.
Be more than thankful this Christmas - Be aware of those around you and be reminded that to keep Christ in Christmas we need to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty and welcome the unwanted.
To donate or for other ways you can help support The Lightouse, visit their website.
Merry Christmas from PDG+creative!(pictured above from left to right: Ben Phelps, Johnathan Warlick, Andrew Oleson, Natalie Turner, Kathy Lindquist and Travis Shepherd)
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