A Christmas Memory

When her mom's parents (lovingly called Mutter and Grumps) died, Claire Chinn's family received a simple bag filled with goodies and a unique ornament. Every year, they hang those ornaments up and remember Mutter and Grumps- the fun times they had during Christmas- we remember the lessons they learned and the characteristics that have been passed down through the generations. In those moments, according to Claire,  decorating a Christmas tree becomes this sacred ground.

As a child growing up at Hendricks Avenue Baptist, Claire always looked forward to making ornaments for the "Night of Caring" bags that would be given to families, like hers, who had lost loved ones in the previous year.  Ornament-making day was an elaborate event. Creative craft parts filled tables in the gym, and there was an air of festiveness. Even now you could walk into her parents' home and find crafts from that day. 


Now it's Claire's job to try and create this memory with our children. "I have enjoyed going through the millions of ideas online and working with my mom to create this creative crafts for our children," says Claire. "It is our way of making sure members of our congregation who have lost loved ones know that they are loved and cared for during a difficult season."


Though Claire and her mother, Judy Kermitz, along with other volunteers, do a lot of preparation, it is the children who create cards and ornaments and fill the bags with goodies to be given to families at Night of Caring.

"As our children prepare ornaments to share, I can not help but feel an overwhelming sense of sadness as I go through the list of church members who have lost loved ones. I can not help but think that the holidays are a little different for the names on my list. I can't but to feel that this year will be particularly difficult for these families," remarks Claire.


But then remembering her own Christmases and her own Night of Caring gift from the church, she says, "I can't help but pray that these ornaments will bring back good memories, that families will gather around the Christmas tree and tell stories and laugh. My prayer is that when the ornament is hung or placed somewhere special a little smile will spread and we can feel the presence of a church family that is surrounding them with love and pray. May a moment of happiness, of joy,  and peace fill the air and remind these families that even through the darkness, the Savior of our world shines brighter."