The @SalvationArmyUS is doing some amazing ministry work.

Just locally in my city they run an extremely effective drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. It’s a faith-based residential program for men and women who are unable to obtain services elsewhere.

They not only have rehabilitation programs to help people kick their addictions, but they also continue with transitional programs. They work to re-acclimate graduates into the community and help them resume independent living.

They are also leading the way in fighting homelessness and hunger in our area…

In order to offer these services for free, The Salvation Army relies heavily on donations. Among other things, one of their largest sources of funding comes from the Christmas bell-ringing.

This year our church is joining many other area churches to support the Christmas bell-ringing efforts. And our family picked Christmas Eve to serve this great ministry…

We were all like little kids on Christmas morning as we got out there, put on our aprons, and started ringing our bells.

The sound of the bells will ring in my ears for a while afterwards, but I can’t imagine a more beautiful sound right now. I think of every person that will be helped as a result of the bell that seemed to summon so many generous donations.

As long as I can remember, every time my son heard that familiar bell he wanted to run and drop some spare change.

I smile as I remember the face of the little girl, maybe 3 years old, who was surprised by her father handing her a crisp one-dollar bill to drop in the bucket. Watching her excitement was one of the best gifts that I could’ve gotten on this day.

As we thanked people for their donations and wished each a very Merry Christmas, many thanked us. Me? I’m just a bell-ringer, and there are others who are helping so many in need.

I cannot help but to think of those in our area who have so little this year. Like the man who walked by without looking at me as he picked half-smoked cigarette butts out of all of the ashtrays along the plaza’s sidewalk. Or the guy in a motorized wheelchair that stopped at every trash can and reached in to see if there was anything of value to him.

There were also the really cool moments, like when a couple of girls that worked in the store came out with some cookies for my son because they thought he was “SOOO cuuuttte!” He’s too embarrassed to know how to respond to that, but his mom and I giggled about it for quite some time.

It was a fun day… a long day…

All in all, we couldn’t imagine spending our Christmas Eve any other way.

We pray a blessing over all of the donations that were made, and over all of the people that made them. And we pray for the people that serve and do the REAL work at the Salvation Army. Amen, and Merry Christmas!

how to spend your time [on Christmas eve]

by Dan King time to read: 3 min