THANKS for all that was GIVEN!

Rolf Geyling and a new volunteer, Billy Baldwin.

I love the way we kick off the holidays here at the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission.  For as long as anyone can remember, we hold our annual Thanksgiving Feast on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  For our family, it serves as a memorable start of the holiday season.

On the one hand, it’s not very different from what we do here every other day of the year—providing food and care for those who are hungry.  But thanks to many who give their time and resources, there are special touches which we trust communicates the incredible love God has for the lost, hungry and broken.

As the date approached, more and more people dropped by with turkeys and food for the feast.  While most people only get one day to savor the aroma of their dinner in the oven, we enjoyed the aroma for the better part of a week as our residents got everything ready and even found time to decorate the dining room.  On the day of the feast, we were joined by a dear group of volunteers—many of them regulars who’ve been coming for years—who helped us welcome and serve the hundreds who came for our feast.

I pray that those who came got more than just a plate of delicious food.  I hope they felt the love and concern of our team as they interacted with them.  I hope they sensed the extra time and effort that went into making the day special.  I pray that each guest was able to experience God’s great love for them and that this brings hope.

I am so proud of our staff and the work they do each day, but something as big as the Thanksgiving Feast lies beyond our capabilities.  We can only do it because people GIVE—their time, their resources and their prayer.  All of this giving is a moving thing to see firsthand and I can’t think of a better way to start off my holiday celebration.

Thanks and God’s blessings!