Last night, the lady who helped start the Salvation Army in the Woodlands, Betty Chandler, shared a bit about her testimony at the Woodlands Christian Academy Christmas Musical. She shared that her father died in a workplace accident when she was eight years old. Her mom was forced into full time work to be able to support her family. Shortly after this her mom became very ill and was unable to go into work. The pantry quickly dwindled and they became hungry and were not sure where they were going to turn. A lady who lived near them became aware of their situation and stepped in to help. She got them connected to the Salvation Army that immediately began helping them with food and basic needs until the mom was able to get back on her feet again. This act of love and compassion from the ministry of the Salvation Army changed Betty's life. In 1975 Betty moved to the Woodlands area and helped start the Salvation Army here. In 1994, she asked the Woodlands Mall if they would let her set up the Angel Tree that allowed families to give and help out impoverished people in Montgomery County. Last night at the start of the musical people brought in presents to bless 188 families in our area this Christmas.
One of the songs that the kids sang last night was entitled, 'And the Gift Goes On.' One of the verses says, "When your life is full of Christmas then your life is full of love. You can give away the present that began with God above. Just like ripples in the water the circles of our love extend. What was started with the Father is a Gift that has no end." Steve has been teaching a series called 'the Bethlehem Effect.' The idea is that what God did that first Christmas night by sending His Son to be born in a manger in Bethlehem has sent shockwaves of love throughout the whole world for generation after generation. We, like Betty Chandler, have tasted of God's amazing love for us through Jesus. We now have an opportunity to be a conduit of that love to the people around us this Christmas. In John 13, Jesus tells His disciples, 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Maybe today God will use our smile, our donation, our kind word, our handshake to point someone toward the God who loves them and the miracle of Christmas will continue to have ripple effects 2000 years later.