An embarrassing but true tale: The red kettles used to annoy me. For years I felt guilty if I didn’t have anything to put in them – and who likes to feel guilty, right? (So sometimes I would just go in a different door….classy.) I also felt annoyed because it felt like they were everywhere. Then, when I did give my $1, I wished I had a hand stamp that I could wave at the next kettle ringer indicating I already gave. Oh, how I was filled with the giving spirit of Christmas!
Then one Sunday morning in December of 2008, I heard Stan Buck, (my pastor who passed away on November 18th) give us a challenge about the red kettles. He challenged us to give generously; to be prepared to give each and every time we passed a red kettle.
He suggested then that if we put a dollar in the kettle each time we passed one it is likely to not total more than $50. Most of us can afford to be that generous. If you can’t, consider dropping $0.50, or even $0.25 – each and every time. It feels good. Which is usually how this giving thing goes – in blessing others we usually feel blessed ourselves.
Perhaps I wasn’t really annoyed at the red kettles, it’s more likely that I was annoyed at myself for not being prepared to give. Or maybe I was just stingy. I’m not sure, but what I do know is that since that message, each Christmas season I have gone to the bank for my $1 bills and I put one in the kettle each and every time I see one.
And this year, since Stan isn’t here to give his dollar bills, I put one in for him too.
(I’ve read several Facebook postings in the last few weeks about people from our church thinking of Stan when they see a red kettle – and giving. This good and faithful man inspired so many to do the good and faithful things in life. His legacy will be far reaching.)