“Christmas is forever, not for just one day,
for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away
like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others is good you do yourself…”
~Norman Wesley Brooks, “Let Every Day Be Christmas.

One of the great things about this time of year is walking pace any major retail location and hearing the joyful ringing of the bells from the Salvation Army Kettle. Well actually the ringing is from the dear person tending the kettle! It just reminds us about the spirit of generosity that we are called to have. It reminds us of the call of the Saviour whose birth we celebrate.

What I love about the Salvation Army’s Kettle Campaign is the fact that it supports ministries and programs throughout the year. Every time we see the Salvation Army mobilized to another disaster region, think Kettle. Every time we refer another family to the Salvation Army Mission downtown, think Kettle. Every time we see the Salvation Army Van doling out blankets and hot chocolate on a cold winter night to those on the street, think Kettle. When ever we see another addict rescued by the Harbour Light, think Kettle.  When ever we see the single mother assisted with her needs, think Kettle. This list could go on for quite a while. Truth is, that while the Kettle Campaign does help people at Christmas, it does so much more. The Christmas hampers are one small part of a larger reality that works constantly at being the hands and feet of Jesus in this world.

On Thursday December 8, 2012, St. Mark’s by-the-Lake will be tending the Salvation Army Kettle at the Zehr’s on Manning Rd. Plan to come by and see us and more importantly, bring a gift for the kettle, cash or cheque Payable to the Salvation Army will work. Let us fill the kettle tomorrow. Let us display the generosity that has come to define us as a parish community.

Today is the Feast day of The Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary for us in the Anglican Church. Let us take such a day to offer our praise a gratitude of the ministry and willingness of Mary to say yes to the leading of God. Let us pray for the courage to say yes to what God is leading us to do. Let us heed the words of the collect which is prayed today:

Almighty and everlasting God, who stooped to raise fallen humanity through the child-bearing of blessed Mary:  Grant that we, who have seen your glory revealed in our human nature and your love made perfect in our weakness, may daily be renewed in your image and conformed to the pattern of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Let us take hold of the call to see God’s love made perfect in human weakness. Understanding that in seeing God in weakness we will be fulfilling the call of Jesus to serve him in places of weakness. Our efforts today at the SA Kettle provide one small way to show that we want to be renewed in God’s image and that we want to ‘conform to the pattern’ of Jesus whose human life was delivered in being in weakness and the vulnerability and whose ministry bore witness to serving the weak, the vulnerable, and the forgotten.  Come see us tomorrow – help us ring the bells – and help us fill the kettle by bringing by your donation.