Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas, and pass the rolls

By Deanna Kirk
Corsicana Daily Sun

— Even though this is our fourth Christmas together, this will be the first Christmas that Will and I spend as Mr. and Mrs. Kirk.

And to celebrate that, we’re tickled that this year we get to spend Christmas Day in a way we’ve talked about all four years — but just never worked out until now.

On Christmas Day, we will be at the First Baptist Church Family Life Center, where for eight to 10 years, Lance and Karen Cook and their family and friends have ministered to anyone lonely or hurting with a warm meal, and a friendly smile.

I can personally attest that my prayer list is longer right now than it seems to have been in ages. People with illness, in the hospital, surgeries, family problems, wayward children ... it just seems to go on and on.

But along with praying for each one daily, this is something tangible I can do to help someone else.

Lance shared with me that this ministry began after a horrific car accident changed his life forever. In 1997, a hideous wreck claimed the life of his mother-in-law, injured his wife and boys badly, and caused him to take a step back and reexamine his priorities.

“After everyone was healed, there was emotional healing that had to take place,” he said. “We became more focused on what God wanted us to do outside of our own home. We know Karen’s mom is in Heaven, but I’ve felt it laid on my heart to give a gift on Christmas Day, because I was given a second chance with my family. God has been so patient with me, and I feel honored to be able to do this, because it is such a blessing to me.”

Lance was quick to point out that it’s really not about the food, that is merely the ice breaker. The point is to reach out and minister to anyone who may be lonely on Christmas Day, or hurting, or simply in need of a warm, good meal. It doesn’t matter if you have money or not, it’s about being “loved on.”

“Anybody is welcome,” Lance said. “You’re welcome to come socialize and share with us at the Family Life Center, or if you’re not able to get out, we can bring love and food to you. Show the love of Jesus on the day we honor His birth.”

If you would like to have a meal brought to you, or simply want to call and let him know you and your family will be present for lunch, call Lance at (903) 872-2857 and leave a message.

One little lady in Lance’s neighborhood is 99, and his sons have taken a meal to her every year. One year, a church member found a man digging in a dumpster for food on Christmas Day, and brought him for a meal.

Not everyone who serves or delivers is a member of First Baptist. Since the Good News Cafe at FBC was started on Mondays years ago, the “regulars” have developed, and continue to come back each week and tell their friends.

“What it’s about is extending the day, having Christmas with ‘family’ and not being alone,” he said. “It’s not about the food, like Thanksgiving. What people really want is to be loved and cared for, and nothing says it better than a hug, a smile, or visiting with someone who may be alone.”

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Deanna Kirk is editorial assistant, Daily Sun staff writer and editor of Explore. Her column appears on Saturdays. She may be reached via email at dkirk@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com