Homer, Alaska: How we do Christmas

A small corps celebrates the holiday season.

by Mark Thielenhaus, Captain –

In our small corps in Homer, Alaska, everyone comes together to celebrate the Christmas season. Other than paid part-time workers at our thrift store, we have no paid staff at the corps, and all the programs, including kettles, are completely run by volunteers.

The ladies’ group has again chosen the day and time for their turn to “ring the bell” in front of Ulmer’s drug store (one of our two kettle sites). The men, we hope, will follow suit like last year, when almost every male corps member gave time at a kettle to help achieve our goal.

Soon, the corps will hold a family night for “hanging the greens,” when, after a shared meal, everyone prepares the building for the season so it looks spotless and festive.

Near Thanksgiving, our “kids church” young people make gifts and cards that they will later help distribute to the patients at the long-term care wing of the hospital, when corps families sing songs and visit the residents room by room.

Most likely, volunteers from our adult Bible study class will help pack food boxes after church, remembering to enclose Army publications, church invitations, and a Gospel of John inside each one.

I especially look forward to the Sundays of Advent, when corps families take part in the service or read a passage before lighting the Advent candles. While we have a monthly potluck and enjoy spending time in fellowship, our corps members truly use holiday potlucks as a way to invite unsaved or unchurched neighbors and co-workers into the church.

As always, our goal during the “fullness” of the Christmas season is to never forget that it was in the fullness of time that God sent his Son, and in the fullness of time he is coming again. Our prayer for you is the same as for us—that we never fail to remember and celebrate the coming of our Savior. Merry Christmas.

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