Early Christmas

by Christa Lollis

Christmas came early to some East Texas kids. 700 bikes, mp3 players, gift certificates and stuffed animals covered the floor of the Clawson Assembly of God church. It's something the congregation does every year to give the Christmas spirit to as many people as possible. "It's important to them because they realize that there is a church and people that care about them and love them and I think when they receive that gift, it's more than just a gift. It's the love that comes from the people have," Luis Salazar, from the church explained.

6 years ago it started with just 100 bikes, but every year they've raised more money allowing them to give to more children. "It's just a testimony of how good God has been to this church and allowed us to, he's blessed us and allowed us to be a blessing to many people," Salazar said. The smiling faces were proof enough that one gift can make all the difference. Junelle Merritt, who received a gift said, "It meant a lot to me because my church could have used that money for so much other things but instead they gave it to me to give me a present to show me how much they appreciate me." "Made me feel like I actually have a church home that loves people and are able to reach out their arms to other people and not only their church family but other people in the community," Shelby Vinson, a church member said.

For members of the Clawson Assembly of God, that's what it was all about the community helping giving to others in the community. Salazar explains, "It just, I think, a testimony of how people can come together with one purpose and one mind and that is the spirit of giving and how wonderful is that at Christmas time."