December 15th // Matt Bergman

Posted on by SpokaneYFC

The holiday season “'tis the season to be jolly.” I love the holidays - getting to buy gifts for others, spending time with loved ones - it's all so good. The hardest part about the holidays for me, and I imagine it could be the same for many of you, is that I can’t be everywhere at once. It's difficult to have to pick which place to go this year and then switch the next year. I worry that people's feeling might get hurt, but for the most part, I know they will understand. When I take a look at the bigger picture, though, I know that this being the 'hardest part' of the season is really not so bad. At YFC, a lot of our kids face much harder realities than this.

Recently, I read a YFC kid's post on Facebook, that said: “I never really understand how broken my family is until this time of year.” It breaks my heart thinking how so many of our kids will be home for Christmas feeling a lot of emotions - but being “jolly” won't be one of them. They are forced to stare the brokenness that surrounds them straight in the face. Maybe a parent is incarcerated, someone in their family is hooked on drugs. There may be no food to eat or no presents under the tree. 

After I read the facebook post I was contemplating how YFC fits into all of this. What can our role be in making the holiday season a little brighter? What came to mind were two big events that we have during the holiday season: Family Feast, and Spochristmas.

Family Feast is where we invite kids and their entire family to come to our youth centers to be served a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner. The families get to see our youth center, meet some of the leaders, and sit down as a family and eat dinner together - something that is rare in this day in age for any families. And in December we throw our Spochristmas party for all the kids that come to our youth centers. This year we rented out the Eastern Eagles ice arena, bought around 50 large pizzas, completely packed two buses and multiple cars with kids, and then handed out over 200 sweatshirts!

These were great events, where the community was able to come together for an evening and, even for just a few hours, joy was able to outshine the potential pain of the holiday season. This year during Family Feast everyone was able to walk home with leftovers, and we were able to give away 7 frozen turkeys to families in need. I loved being able to read the raffle ticket numbers off one at a time, and hear someone exclaim, “That's me!" Each kid would walk up, head held high and a big smile on their face to show me their winning ticket, and then walk back to their seat feeling the joy and pride that THEY got that turkey for their family. Often times our kids want so badly to feel that they can provide for and contribute to family needs during tough times, but sometimes don't know how.

During this Holiday season please pray the God guides us on this wonderful journey and brings the right partnerships to us to help these kids learn how to provide for themselves and others. And maybe down the road the Holiday season, “Tis the season to be Jolly”, could be true for them too!

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