Christmas Comes to “COVID Season”

COVID-19 doesn’t exactly bring images of caroling in the snow to mind.  It doesn’t inspire extended family gathering around the tree.  If anything, it underscores how we can only surround ourselves with a select few family members, if any.  And while a few families in our nation put up lights soon after they finally took them down (maybe we DO “need a little Christmas, right this very minute”), it may seem there has been little to celebrate over the past two months.

But the “COVID Season” and the Christmas Season have had one thing in common – they have both proven to be seasons of giving!

Though Christmas doesn’t usually bring to mind things like toothpaste, shampoo and deodorant.  (most of us would cringe to find such items in our stockings), last December those were the very items gathered by the Student Ministry of FBC.  They did so to help support Manna House, a local ministry partner of our church.

Doing for others during the holidays may come second nature, but that ingathering for Manna House also made a lasting impression one of our FBC students.  So, when Covid-19 descended on Midlothian (and the rest of the world), this student logged onto the Manna website to see how they were faring.

They weren’t faring well.

Donations were down 60-70% at the very time needs were rising dramatically.  With local grocers unable to help due to panic buying and limited inventories, the Manna House staff were wondering how they could help those in need – especially how to supply 7 crucial items that were dangerously low in their inventory.

That’s when this FBC student made it his personal mission.  And the impact was immediate!

Student Ministry leaders, fellow students and their families were urged to pick up the 7 items during their weekly shopping.   The garage of Chris and Lauren Ransbottom (FBC’s Student Pastor and his wife) became the designated drop-off spot and within a few days their 8-foot table in that garage was overflowing with breakfast items, potatoes, pasta and fruit cups.  In addition, Chris and Lauren’s fridge and freezer would barely close due to the produce and meat the students delivered.  With his car loaded to capacity, Chris made the trip to Manna House on a rainy afternoon where he was welcomed with both joy and relief.

“When I got to Manna House and called the number posted on the front door,” Chris reported, “I told them I had a donation. They asked if I could just leave it in front of the building and I said, ‘That might be a bit of a problem…’.

“A Manna house volunteer approached my vehicle with a grocery cart and quickly realized it was not going to be nearly big enough!”

After filling the cart and then filling it a second time and then a third, the worker asked, “Is all of this from you?”

“This is a gift from the Student Ministry of FBC,”  Chris responded.

“Seeing the worker’s gratitude for the way we are loving our community has been one of the many highlights of being the Student Pastor of our church,” says Chris.

Somebody cue the music. Joy to the world. Even one in quarantine.