I was on the first Christmas Store committee. I can’t even remember how many years ago that was, but I remember Clay Hughey calling me and asking me to help with some crazy new idea that Larry had. Our first meeting was at Linda Patton’s house where Larry explained how this worked at his former church and we talked about how we could make it work here. Dana McBee and I coordinated volunteers in the days before Sing-Up Genius where you actually had to have people sign up on paper sign-up sheets and call them to remind them of their time. I remember going through the old church directory and calling people to ask them to sign up for empty time slots. I vividly remember standing in a circle in the old sanctuary holding hands and praying before we opened the doors that first December.
Flash forward to about three years ago. I had a student in my class that was really having a hard time. The girl was frequently absent, often wore dirty clothes, and wasn’t doing well in school. One day I was on the phone with the mom and she talked about how hard things were financially and that she didn’t know what she was going to do for Christmas. It warmed my heart to be able to say, “I know of a way I can help.” Even though registration was technically closed, I was able to get her registered and they did get help through the Christmas Store that year. That family still lives in Coppell, and I see them sometimes at the grocery store. I don’t know if they know Jesus, but I do know that this mom heard the Gospel when she came through the Christmas Store that year.
When most people think of Coppell, they think of the well-off families living in nice houses and driving nice cars. But I work at a school right here in Coppell where 30% of the kids are considered economically disadvantaged. I see kids coming to school in dirty, torn clothes. They are hungry and sleep deprived because they share a room with 2 teenagers who stay up late playing video games. I see kids every day who are worried about how much food is available to them or they are in charge of their three year old siblings until 10 pm because the parents work at night. Some of these families do know the love of Jesus, but some do not. I love these kids, and God loves them . . . and I am SOOOO happy that we are showing them God’s love in December with our VRBC Christmas Store. It’s one important way that we attempt to invite diverse and disconnected people to passionately follow Jesus together.