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12 years of lessons learned in 12 days

December 14, 2016

12 days before Christmas

12 lessons I’ve learned from pulling together the

12 Hope and Friendship Christmas Dinner Delivery Days

People are so very generous at this time of the year.                                                                         So many of those who stand for a cause, found a mission, work toward meeting needs, find their daily grind of a different strain at this time of the year. Instead of hitting the pavement begging for assistance to meet needs, one runs out of time meeting the requests from those who wish to meet needs.

I have found that 24 hours in a day are never enough at this time of year.   The outpouring of offers to assist; to buy presents for kids and adopt families; to assist needs that come in view clearer at this time of year than during any other; to be a part of any hands and feet action that is engaging in the act of giving and reverberating the Christmas spirit through their arms to persons in need, are immeasurable.

In my corner of the world, generosity is a year round action and in constant view, if you multiply that by a gazillion and you’ll get an idea on how overwhelming it is to be blessed to be one who is asked “Where, how and when can I help?”

Over the 12 years of seeing the outreach grow from a group of 12 gathering at a table on Christmas 2005 feasting on a meal created from a cornucopia of dishes donated by many, then packing up and delivering food to a few Lemont homes of those in the struggle, and two shelters to a massive operation engaging hundreds and feeding hundreds, I can truly tell you Christmas miracles, magic and love IS here in our Lemont community.

It has been and will be here again in our beautiful corner of the world on this Christmas Day for our 12th year of arriving at doors to fill physical, emotional and spiritual needs.

One of my Christmas wishes has been the wish that I could spread these countless and tireless offers of hands, feet, donations of time, effort and funds throughout the whole year so that we would see the roller coaster of recovering from life blows to become a more level plane of survival for many, and for some the ability to rise from the “life of Lot” as a result of the supportive, nurturing and mentoring hands of many friends.

My every year Christmas wish has been, and will continue to be, that I wouldn’t have had my eyes opened to the need of being lifted by friends on a day that can be just as painful as it can be powerful. I know if my Dad could be here on this Christmas Day he would be right in the middle of this massive operation planning, sorting, carefully preparing, delivering and enjoying every moment of being someone’s Christmas angel. However I have had to understand and accept that sometimes it is only from pain that your eyes and hearts are opened to needs you otherwise had looked past. It was because of your empty chair Dad that I choose to try and fill tables and hearts in your memory, and as that has been and will continue to be my mission, I know you have been present on each of the past and will be present once again with me on this very outreach in 12 days.

May you be able to turn your eyes outward instead of inward when the day is simply dreadful. May you have the strength and desire to turn painful ache into powerful love. And if you simply cannot empower yourself to do this, may a friend know of your need and arrive at your door with the gift of peace to see the magic of Christmas love.

Thank you Dad for teaching me this, demonstrating in action not word, by simply and devotedly walking the walk of unconditional Christmas love every day of the year.

Want to be a part of this year’s Hope and Friendship Christmas Outreaches?




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