Peace on Earth – What Christmas Means at Palmer Home
By Drake Bassett, CEO and President
At my first Palmer Home Christmas, I came to realize that this special night of “peace on earth,” was something many children never experience. All the Christmas traditions (my grandmother’s fudge for example) are the kind that brings smiles to us but is completely unfamiliar to vulnerable children all over the world. For them…no Christmas carols, no opening of gifts, no… “our family does this every year” tradition. Sadly, I realized that Christmas was nothing special at all for so many children.
In our time of joy and celebration, it’s easy to forget that others may not have what we have, and it is hard to believe that many children do not understand Christmas the way we do. Why are there bright lights? Why is there a special tree? Why do we only sing “Silent Night” this time of year?
For many children, it’s just another day. A day of uncertainty, a day of unspoken fear, a day without a hug, or another day without a meal. I’ve seen these children- they’re underfed, frightened, shy, confused. They wonder what the next hour holds, who they can trust, and if they truly matter.
When God sent His only Son to dwell on Earth, He told us that we are not alone. In the arrival of Jesus, God the father is communicating in the grandest gesture: I want to be with you. I want to comfort you, laugh with you and share every day with you. I am with you because you are special to me.
Immanuel…. God with us.
We are humbled at Palmer Home to be able to share that love with our children. The Palmer Home “family” reassures, loves, laughs and tells a child: you are special to us. These wonderful children, thirsty for affection and the presence of peace in their life, find it when God works through us to give it to them.
Put simply, our children hear the gospel when they see the gospel.
There is a lot for us to learn about God through family. In healthy homes, we see a father that cares, provides, and smiles and can have joy with his children. I had that privilege every Christmas. My children had that privilege, but not every child has that experience. Creating a Christmas experience for our children is our opportunity to remind them that we belong together and that together, we are better. It’s not about the toys; it’s about the time.
Thanks be to God, this season and every season, that He makes it possible for us to be together. Whatever joy this season of life may bring, or however hard your circumstances, remember that with Him, we are important, and the loneliness and hunger we experience is replaced with community and very full hearts. This Christmas, take time to remember those yet to experience their first Christmas, and as you gather with family and friends, hold your family a little tighter and celebrate the peace you have found in Him.