So I work on the South Coast for a charity called @SpurgeonsUK – got nearly sixty children and young people referred on our books and although its only October I’ve had this thing in my head about Christmas where there are some families that I want to ‘treat’ at another level – like the definition of luxury – even extravagance – that live here on the patch where I work in this seaside town where 48.6% of children born here are born into poverty and I’m a self titled Casual Vicar, and every Christmas we target families to take Hampers to but last year we didn’t have any money for them so this place called the Larder (based at a Baptist Church) gave us twenty boxes of food which they had made up which was kind of great, and I’m not knocking that at all – it was a provision that the families needed and I am grateful that we could deliver them, however, when it came down to it these donations were generally those tins and things in the cupboard that are knocking around that people don’t use – random tins of kidney beans and Happy Shopper peas, and I didn’t want to just take it to another level I wanted to take it to a different planet – so while all this is swirling around in my head one evening I find myself at a planning meeting where a guest called Mike from Kent has arrived on request of our team leader (or Captain as I call her) and Mike is waffling about some things, and he starts talking about the money they spend on their volunteer meals, twice a year, to thank them – and he says they don’t have a frame of mind that says “Cheap Lasagne” they have a “Royal Banquet” mentality – and that summarised exactly what I was thinking about these Hampers, and then my mind bubbled away and drifted off planning this without a penny in the bank but needing about five hundred notes, when the next thing I tuned into was Mike describing buying someone a bottle of Champagne, then I started becoming alive planning to buy Champagne and Turkeys for a select few families and then I found myself looking down at my friend Si’s old dilapidated Asics trainers and found myself thinking I should definitely buy him a brand new pair of trainers, and probably some New Balance ones at that…
…anyway, a couple of days later I brought Si the trainers (New Balance) and then money started coming in – I’d get a phone call from someone who would ask if I was doing my Christmas Hamper thing this year, and I would say yeah and they’d send me some money – or a letter would arrive with a cheque in it saying the donation was for the Christmas Hamper thing and in about five or six days I was given a total of six hundred and fifty notes – and that’s mad because not only are we are in a recession but the most expensive season was just around the corner – so each time a donation came in I would laugh and look to the Heavens and smile to myself: bollocks to Cheap Lasagne; next thing I did was to grab a coffee with my mate Sally on her tea break (who slaves in the kitchen where I work) and she got on the case and whacked in an order and a delivery date for turkeys, all the veg trimmings, olive oil, gravy granules, cranberry sauce, deluxe Hot Chocolate, posh biscuits, the best custard, Christmas cake, Christmas pudding – you know, the full shebang, even cooking instructions to ensure the turkey would be cooked yet moist, and then I went down my local and chatted to the landlord Colin who sorted me out ten top notch bottles of Champagne on a cheeky deal – I mean I told him I’d pay full whack as this was all about a banqueting table, but he wasn’t having any of it, and after the bubbly arrived I got thinking about the real reason we have Christmas so I decided I’d better make a reference to the Good Lord seeing as not only it was his birthday but all the donations had come in from people in local churches – so I emailed my mate Stew the designologist the following Bible Verse and Christmas message and Stew did what Stew does best and produced a festive Christmas card with all that detail on it went in the Hamper and I delivered them on 22nd December and that, my friends, was that… @WalterOtton
Every Sunday from 08th January at 10.30am in TLA Sports Hall.
From Luke Chapter 2 after Jesus was born: At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises: Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please Him.
So a bunch of people kept asking me if I knew of anyone that would like a nice Christmas Hamper – and I was like yeah, I know a few, and people kept giving me money, so I did some maths and worked out I could buy a turkey and fresh vegetables and some nice drink, and then I chose the people that I wanted to have the hamper – and there were 8 of you. There is no catch, you don’t owe us any favours, it is quite simply a Christmas present. Some of you I know have had a tough year. Some of you have moved house, some of you are stressed, some of you have been down and depressed, some of you have many mouths to feed on a tight budget, some of you have had relationship difficulties, some of you are trying to cope having a new start after violence, bereavement or separation has impacted your lives. Some of you may have already purchased turkeys. Well don’t worry about it – you’ve got two now. You could cook them both and invite some friends over – or pop one in the freezer for another time. It’s no drama. It’s no big deal. Enjoy it. The only message from me really is that Christmas is about remembering Gods son Jesus being born. After Jesus was born, an angel appeared to some shepherds and then a huge angelic choir sang Gods praises. Angels are a part of Gods army. They are also Gods messengers. We pray that angels would protect you this Christmas and if you listen carefully you might even hear them singing. Have a banquet. Be merry. God Bless You. See you in the New Year.