By Nicole Cotter

A Community Group Christmas

Christmas is a special time for community. Together with family and friends, we share meals, gifts, and traditions with those we love. This week, one Community Group gathered for a special tradition to share the joy of Jesus’ birth by loving those in need.

Thad and Sharon Newman plan a yearly gathering for their Community Group to pack gift hampers for women and children at the SA Foundation, who are escaping human trafficking and sexual exploitation. After sharing a festive potluck meal, members spread across the house for chaotic assembly lines of gift wrapping.

“Most of the mothers at the SA Foundation have no means of purchasing Christmas gifts for their children. So we found out what the ages of the children were, and then purchased – on their mother’s behalf – something that would be wrapped by our Community Group. We placed a little label on each gift, so that it could be from them to their own child,” Sharon says.

Sharon Gill, one of the members of the group, believes that having a focus on the local community makes their Community Group healthier. “We never want to be only ‘inward’ as Christians,” she says. Another member, George Praymayer, loves getting to do special things with his Community Group: “We bond and we have fun doing it. It’s absolutely life-changing.”

Thad believes that working together to help others grows relationships in a deeper way than simply hanging out. He says, “Our Community Group has really embraced this. People have been really generous and enthusiastic.”

The best gift that anybody can give is to be open-handed with everything that we have,” says Sharon. “God has blessed us. We need to give that blessing to others, because that’s what Jesus tells us to do. The scripture is full of God’s interest and care for the poor, disenfranchised, and those who have not. It’s what Thad and I try to foster in our Community Group. It brings such incredible joy.”

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