Sharing His Love

As I was preparing for tomorrow’s festivities, I found myself reading some of my favorite Christmas stories, including The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Anderson.

10857390_10154874034715181_991888683935019888_oMost terribly cold it was; it snowed, and was nearly quite dark, and evening– the last evening of the year. In this cold and darkness there went along the street a poor little girl, bareheaded, and with naked feet….In a corner formed by two houses, of which one advanced more than the other, she seated herself down and cowered together. Her little feet she had drawn close up to her, but she grew colder and colder

In some of California’s neediest neighborhoods, children are failing in school. They struggle with their reading and math, and slowly fall further and further behind their classmates. As they grow older, they lose hope, and many drop out of school, and join gangs.

She lighted another match. Now there she was sitting under the most magnificent Christmas tree: it was still larger, and more decorated than the one which she had seen through the glass door in the rich merchant’s house. Thousands of lights were burning on the green branches, and gaily-colored pictures, such as she had seen in the shop-windows, looked down upon her. The little maiden stretched out her hands towards them when–the match went out.

But the Leaven works! In Leaven communities not only are kids succeeding in school, but their families are also gaining new hope in a bright future. Neighbors are stepping up, saying no to the gangs, and protecting the children who call their neighborhoods home.

“Grandmother!” cried the little one. “Oh, take me with you! You go away when the match burns out; you vanish like the warm stove, like the delicious roast goose, and like the magnificent Christmas tree!” And she rubbed the whole bundle of matches quickly against the wall, for she wanted to be quite sure of keeping her grandmother near her….She took the little maiden, on her arm, and both flew in brightness and in joy so high, so very high, and then above was neither cold, nor hunger, nor anxiety–they were with God.

We do this work to share God’s love with our neighbors. But we don’t do it alone, because we know friends like you are with us each step of the way. From all of us here at The Leaven, we wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas. Thank you for joining us as we help kids and communities rise. We could not do it without you.

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