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Christmas is about what we give, and who we give it to

CEO Karen Moore

“Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near, and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Luke 12:33-34

The big guy in the red suit. This time of year, his image is everywhere. But how much do you know about the legend of Santa Claus?

His story dates back as far as the third century, to an early Christian bishop named Nicholas of Myra. Nicholas gained a reputation for generosity after he gave away all his inherited wealth and began traveling the world helping the poor and sick. After his death in December of 342 A.D., he was named a saint, and families began to venerate him for the kindness he showed to those most in need.

This tradition found its way to America with the help of Dutch immigrants, who referred to “Sint Nikolaas” (Dutch for Saint Nicholas) by the abbreviated nickname, “Sinter Klaas.” Gradually, through artistic renderings and children’s stories, the image of St. Nicholas, or Sinter Klaas, morphed into the robust, jolly Santa Claus that we know today.

I’m sharing this little bit of folklore with you because I hope that you’ll see, as I’ve come to, that the tradition of Santa Claus comes from a man who gave all he had to help the poor. He didn’t use his wealth to heap lavish gift s on his family in hopes that they would do the same for him. Instead, he gave to those who could never repay him.

And of course, there is no St. Nicholas, no Christmas, no traditions at all without the birth of Jesus, who throughout scripture encouraged his followers to reach out to the marginalized, from lepers to tax collectors. He walked this earth embracing those who had been disregarded, and his death, too, was a sacrifice that cannot be repaid.

Many of you are already living the true spirit of Christmas by your generosity. We saw this firsthand during our Power of Giving drive, as sleeves were rolled up one after another for blood donations, and food items and coats for children piled up. We’re also opening our doors to your kindness through our participation in WKRG’s Magical Christmas Toy Drive for families who won’t be able to provide gift s for their children this holiday. If you haven’t contributed, but you’d like to, you still have a few more weeks left. Please see page six for details.

Like St. Nicholas, who shared everything he had, and Jesus, who died without so much as his own clothing, when our lives are over, what matters will not be what we have, but what we have given to others. Let’s not forget that as we gather around our Christmas trees this holiday season.

As always, Baldwin EMC is grateful for the gift of our kind, loyal and generous membership all year long. I am also grateful for our hardworking, talented and dedicated employees who are committed to serving you, our members, throughout the year. We will continue to make giving back to you and our community a priority.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our family to yours.

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