When a person accepts Christ as their Savior, God imparts spiritual gifts to that person. Often more than one. Some are given special abilities to lead a church, or preach, simply teach or to help those in need. One of my favorite gifts is the gift of giving. I'm not good at receiving. But I super-duper enjoy giving. I discovered recently that I live in a town of givers. In fact, people with the gift of giving. The other night several of our town folks, Commercial Club members, lined up on the main drag of Gladbrook and handed out gifts to the boys and girls. Many of the children got out of their vehicles and took a picture with Santa (Peace Church's own Tim Hendricks). It was the highlight of my week, seeing beaming faces smiling from behind their tiny masks back at me. I was that goofy guy in the elf costume. I think the smallest ones thought I was really an elf. You know, I felt like one of Santa's elves handing out dozens of gifts. It was an exciting night and to be hanging out with a select group of bonafide givers was sheer joy. It was real, true, absolute Christmas joy. It is time that we focus on bringing joy to the children. COVID has made this a bizarre year but let's not forget the children and their favorite time of the year. Give, not just for the kids but because it makes us feel so good.

By the time I made it home, my body ached, yet my mind was more alive than it had been for months. The joy was oozing out of every word I spoke to my friends as I called them to tell the story of the evening. I had just been an active part of the true Christmas spirit. The ladies that led the project had it well organized with beyond generous gifts and a plan that made the whole evening work. I love it when a plan comes together. Gladbrook should be thankful that it has so many dedicated women, young men and a couple of old guys.

I may have been the only minister who took part in the evening of giving but I wasn't the one teaching or being a good Christian example. Many of the faces you see at civic events or as business owners but all of the faces were there to do one thing. That was to celebrate the gift of giving. Something the Christmas season is known for but now I can add, it is something that Gladbrook should be known for.

We, as a city, are coming up on the Holiday Season fully aware that this year will be unlike any other year. I am not about to let the pandemic steal this Christmas like it did our sacred season of Easter. As Christians we know the real reason for the season. It is the birth of a savior who brought the free gift of eternal life to the world and those who accept it. Make or take any opportunity to reach out to those around us. Make Christmas brighter this year than ever before. Join the contest for the best outdoor decorations. Give our kids that age old and cherished tradition of driving around seeing the lights that brighten up our long winter nights.

Also, spend some time working on your spiritual gift of giving. Sure, we have to “socially distance” (I'm beginning to dislike those two words) but a plate of Christmas cookies for your neighbor doesn't spread germs. It spreads joy. That girl or guy next to you at work could use a good cup of coffee. Remember that loving older aunt that pinched your cheeks as a kid? She could use a phone call. Giving brings joy to both the giver and the recipient.

Before I stop my rambling I want to say thank you to the Commercial Club and all the hard working members that put this evening of giving together. Thank you for including the new guy in the neighborhood. Thank you to my many church members that got fully involved with our Christmas activity. Lastly, thanks to the good parents that cared enough to make a wonderful night for their children. That's why Gladbrook is the ideal place to live.

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