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Dec19WedHow could Diane Stark look at someone in need and not see him? December 19, 2018 by Diane Stark
"Mom, there’s a red kettle,” eight-year-old Nathan said. “Can I have some money to put in?”
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I nodded and handed it to him. “Can we talk to her, too?” he asked. “I love telling the bell ringers about the times when we’ve rung the bell.”
I smiled. “Sure, we can talk to her for a minute.”
When Nathan put in the money, the Salvation Army kettle volunteer smiled and said, “Thank you and Merry Christmas.”
“You know, I’ve been a bell ringer before,” Nathan told her. “One time, it was so cold that a lady brought hot chocolate for us.”
Her smile grew bigger. “That was nice of her.”
“I know! I love ringing the bell.”
“I like it, too,” she said. “I like helping The Salvation Army raise the money they need to help people.”
Nathan nodded. “That’s why we like it, too.” He shrugged. “Well, that and the hot chocolate.”
The lady and I both laughed.
While Nathan and I shopped, I could hear the bell ringing from inside the store. It was a sound that always made me smile.
It reminded me of the good work the Army does, and made me think of how God can take my donation and make it matter to a person in need.
We loaded the groceries into the trunk and headed off. On the way home, we saw a man on a corner holding a sign that said “Hungry. Anything helps.”
I read the sign, but in my hurry, I didn’t notice the very real person holding it. At least, not until Nathan pointed him out.
“Mom, did you see that man with the sign?”
My heart sank as I realized what I’d done. I thought I’d never pass by a real person and just ignore him, but then I did with the man holding the sign. I would never think of a kettle worker as “invisible,” but I treated that man as though he was.
Nathan pressed on. “Mom, he’s hungry and we just came from the grocery store.”
“You’re right,” I said. “We should help.” I pulled over and found some food items to share with the man.
“Like I said, helping people makes me happy,” Nathan chirped when we got back in the car.
I met Nathan’s eyes in the rearview mirror. “Thank you for helping me see that man. It’s easy to get so busy that we miss opportunities like that.”
That day, Nathan and a kind bell ringer reminded me that there are so many chances to help others. Sometimes, it’s a person standing next to a Salvation Army sign, ringing a bell and asking for help on behalf of others. And sometimes, it’s a man with a handmade sign, who needs a little help himself.
Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus, who loved us enough to come to earth to save us. And one of the best ways I can love Him back is to really see the people He puts in my path each day.