Truly a Thanksgiving story

By Helen Guilford

My church at one time had a pastor who made no secret of his dislike for preaching on holidays. I think he was like another said when I questioned his retirement from the pastorate, “Well, Helen, there comes a time when you’ve told all your stories and preached all your messages, then it’s time to give it over to someone else.”

While I am not obligated to observe holidays in this column and often don’t make mention of it until later, sometimes it just seems I, too, need to observe it.

Recently when I made a trip to Henderson Settlement in Kentucky with a trunk load of new toys, I prayed there would be a story to take home to share with my church family. Some have been to this mission outreach in the past and their remembrance is that things are not too bad there – actually no different than in our own community. Why send toys there when there is need eight here?

When I arrived the parking lot was full and, knowing I would soon be moving, I just politely parked where my car was blocking about three others.

Though this had not been on their schedule for the day, it was just minutes until a couple of thrift store employees accompanied me to the car. As we walked, I asked about moving the car and they said there was no need and the unloading started.

I became aware of another very nicely dressed lady who took a great deal of interest and one of the clerks explained it to her. The lady then turned her attention to me with thanks. “You just don’t know what this means,” she said, “things are hard and people are in need.”

Though I explained I truly did understand because I had lived and worked in the area for 26 years, still her diatribe continued as she explained how she is the one who really knows because she is a bus driver in a neighboring county.

I had explained I have no family in need so when the bank deposits my Christmas Club money (saved over the entire year) in my spending account, I go toy shopping. As this conversation continued I became aware of a voice just over my shoulder – the voice of one of the clerks – saying, ”She does this every year.” The rather one-sided conversation kept up and so did the voice. I heard that same thing at least three times, “She does this every year.”

While that is true, I was surprised to know the ladies in the store were cognizant of it.

About the toys – these are new, unwrapped toys which are scattered throughout the store during the Christmas season for grandparents who want to give but have little resources. This provides them opportunity to give to their grandchildren because they can purchase the toys for one-tenth of the store price. Grandparents are served and are gratified and their grandchildren up to 16 years of age receive with grateful hearts.

God gave me the story I needed to take to my home church while providing gifts to grandparents and their grandchildren. Truly a Thanksgiving story!

May you have a wonderful thanksgiving season in preparation for the greatest Gift of all – eternal life through Jesus Christ.

By Helen Guilford