Written by Barbara White


When in 1996 a local Secondary School opened,repparttar staff decided to create a tradition to prepare Christmas Hampers for those in need. Each advisory class (of around 18 students G9-12) would adopt a family to help out. The students only know how many members inrepparttar 135376 family, ages ofrepparttar 135377 children, and whether they have any food allergies. Every year, 65 –70 hampers are delivered to families. Inside each hamper is a note fromrepparttar 135378 school principal wishingrepparttar 135379 family a Merry Christmas and a healthy and happy new year. It explains howrepparttar 135380 hamper was put together byrepparttar 135381 students and adds (I quote) “We hope that this hamper will bring you joy at this special time of year as it was put together with much love and care.”

What would you thinkrepparttar 135382 experience of delivering a hamper would be? In my minds eye I would imagine this scenario… knocking atrepparttar 135383 door, and seeingrepparttar 135384 face ofrepparttar 135385 mother light up, excited voices and delighted faces of children gathering atrepparttar 135386 door to receiverepparttar 135387 four or five large boxes, all wrapped in Christmas paper being delivered. I would imagine seeingrepparttar 135388 relief and gratitude onrepparttar 135389 mothers face, perhaps moist eyes, as she realizes there will be plenty of food to go round this Christmas. She may feel, perhaps, amazement and a little overwhelmed that total strangers would go out of their way to be so generous. Seeing those things would be allrepparttar 135390 reward those students needed for their selfless giving, and what a memory to have inrepparttar 135391 impressionable teenage years.

Unfortunately this imagined scene is not reality inrepparttar 135392 experience ofrepparttar 135393 school. One ofrepparttar 135394 teachers told me one of three things normally happen. Whenrepparttar 135395 hampers are delivered (either byrepparttar 135396 teacher or a trusted Grade 12 student), sometimes there is a thank you, sometimes a terse "put it over there", and sometimes no one answersrepparttar 135397 door.

Now I understand that it is embarrassing and humbling to receive, and many people find it very difficult, and may not be able to show their appreciation in person. There are other ways to show gratitude and say thank you, a thank you note torepparttar 135398 school, a phone call or a letter. Sadly this seldom happens. I was shocked!! The school has probably prepared over 700 hampers since 1996, and have seldom received any acknowledgement whatsoever. The teachers reassurerepparttar 135399 students thatrepparttar 135400 hampers were appreciated, andrepparttar 135401 school keeps on giving. At this timerepparttar 135402 students are planning how they can helprepparttar 135403 victims ofrepparttar 135404 tsunami. The teacher’s comment was “The students are amazing!”

There is a well-known saying that it is better to give than receive; I would say that it is also easier to give than receive. I don’t know why it is so hard to show real appreciation when we receive something, but it is not just a cultural or generational problem.

Inrepparttar 135405 gospel of Luke we learn that it was difficult over 2000 years ago. Leprosy is a terrible disease that eats away at a person’s flesh, and is very contagious. In biblical times there was no cure. To have leprosy meant living outsiderepparttar 135406 town, being ostracized from society, no longer able to live a normal life with your family, maybe never being able to hug your children, only being able to speak to them or see them from a distance. If you had leprosy you had to walk about warning people by ringing a bell and shouting ‘unclean, unclean’ so people would keep away from you. Can you imagine living like that! Jesus met ten of these lepers one day, and told them to show themselves torepparttar 135407 priest, as they went they were healed. Not only wasrepparttar 135408 pain and suffering gone, but also their lifestyle was to be transformed. They could be reunited with their family, work, and be part of community again. Luke’s account tells us that one of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He THREW himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. Only one out of ten showed gratitude for such a huge life-changing miracle!

Manifesting Home Runs

Written by Debbie O'Meara

Recently I was in Cleveland, Ohio, about two thousand miles from my home in southern California, visiting my brother and his family. My sister-in-law and I took my eight-year-old niece to her first baseball game, where we sawrepparttar Cleveland Indians hostrepparttar 135375 Minnesota Twins. We had excellent seats behind home plate, and little Caitlin lovedrepparttar 135376 music,repparttar 135377 “wave,” and everything about her first ballpark experience. Of course, it was even better when she saw her home team defeatrepparttar 135378 visitors 2-1.

I’m no baseball expert but I can say that this game wasn’t what you’d call an outstanding display of hitting. Few times did either team manage to get more than four batters up per inning. Both teams scored a run inrepparttar 135379 third inning, and it wasrepparttar 135380 bottom ofrepparttar 135381 eighth inning before we saw another score. Cleveland had loadedrepparttar 135382 bases with two out. Designated hitter Travis Hafner took one ball, one strike…and got hit by a pitch. Which meant he automatically went to first base, allrepparttar 135383 runners advanced, and Ronnie Belliard trotted home forrepparttar 135384 winning run. No heroics, no big hit, no dramatic, crash-into-a-wall missed catch. But an errant pitch that wasn’t enough to hurtrepparttar 135385 batter, but was enough to allow him to winrepparttar 135386 game for his team.

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