Our Shine Christmas Party
By Carolyn Wiebe
Excited girls in cozy pajamas.
The smell of cookies baking.
A cozy fireplace crackling (on a tv screen) and Christmas music playing in the background.
This was the setting for our Shine girls' Christmas party. Our smiling volunteers, dressed in an array of Christmas sweaters, flannel pjs, and festive (aka gaudy) flashing Christmas jewelry welcomed the girls in from the cold. And best of all, the Christmas tree was practically drowning in presents. Presents for everyone! Seventy plus gifts makes for a rather impressive presentation!
The girls came carrying blankets and stuffed animals and their favorite dolls, their smiles stretching from ear to ear. A game of tag began immediately in the fireplace room and the excited girls had to be reminded that 40-60 girls running in a crowded room is a guaranteed disaster! To avert this disaster and give an outlet for the hyper energy, we cranked up the Christmas songs and the girls sang their hearts out. After singing, the girls settled down with their blankets and we read the story of Jesus birth from our favorite children's Bible, The Jesus Storybook Bible. We read about how God made His announcement of Jesus' birth to the shepherds, a group usually left out and looked down on. We talked about how everyone is included in God's plan to save His people.
Then, because we just couldn't wait a minute longer, we handed out presents. Every girl got a brand new hat with our new name and beautiful hand written logo on it. The girls squealed and gasped and the hats were a huge hit. The fireside room became a sea of blue hats on cute, excited little faces. With that we dimmed the lights and started the movie.
At intermission, Cheri, our faithful Shine kitchen boss, and her crew brought up platters of freshly baked cookies and the girls lined up for hot chocolate with whipped cream and sprinkles. The movie ended just in time as parents returned to pick up their girls and we sent them off with dozens of happy "Merry Christmases" and a few hugs to seal the deal.
Giving gifts and treats to these girls is easily a favorite evening for us as leaders. But more than just wanting to fill their bellies full of goodness and gift them with Shine swag, our goal and prayer is that they feel loved, welcomed, and special. Christmas may be past but we hope that the warmth and joy it brought stays for a lifetime.