Heartbeat: Spread hope, give thanks
by JONI B. HANNIGAN

Article Date: Dec 12, 2013

“Thank you Aunt Joni for the medal you got me at the Vatican. It means so much that it was blessed by the pope.”

That my dutiful second cousin’s daughter in Miami took the time to call and thank me personally made me pause. I wish I had been there for her all-important eighth grade graduation in May, but things got hectic in the office and I had reordered my priorities. 

“Are you looking forward to starting high school?” I asked before quickly realizing she was already well into ninth grade at her exclusive Catholic high school.

Moments like this are embarrassing when I realize I have “bowed out” of family and apparently don’t even remember the time of the year. But she was gracious as I recovered and we chatted about the wonderful things my daughter and I saw on our brief trip to Rome at the end of a mission trip I covered in October for one of our Florida Baptist churches. 

This season take time to “chat” with family members. Build bridges, bake cookies, give gifts, share the Gospel. 

Like I used to tell collegians when I led in student ministry, share Christ “as you are going,” in word and in deed. Be the hands and feet of Christ this Christmas. 

Spread hope, spread cheer, give thanks.

Psalms 37:4: “Take delight in the LORD, and He will give you your heart’s desires.”

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