Christmas of Grace
Part 2 – Feeling Cherished
In last week’s blog, we discussed how the typical struggles of being separated from family during addiction recovery can become amplified during the holiday season. The Charis House and Ministry Village teams work together along with many supporters from Olive Baptist Church, to remind the women how much they are loved. Keeping the ladies’ social calendars full is one way Ms. Debbe Jefcoat, Director of Ladies Recovery Ministries for Ministry Village at Olive, Ms. Karen Cox, Charis House Therapist, and the 4 Charis House Managers ensure that the women do not have idle minds or hands throughout the holidays.
Invitations began rolling in for the women in early November, including an invitation to a “low country boil” complete with a menu of shrimp, corn, sausage and potatoes. For Thanksgiving, Shaun and Deshni Pillay invited the women to celebrate Thanksgiving at their home. “Our home is not our own, because we view it as God’s tool for the furtherance of His Kingdom,” explained Shaun Pillay, Minister of Evangelism and Discipleship at Olive Baptist Church. “Hospitality is ground zero for a Christ follower. It was a great joy to have the Charis House ladies join us for Thanksgiving. It gave us the great opportunity to display the glory of Christ around the dining room table.” The ladies thoroughly enjoyed the delicious dinner, as well as their time of fellowship with Shaun and Deshni.
As Christmas gets closer, the Charis House ladies decorate each home with a tree and ornaments. Christmas music is on repeat, and the calendar fills up with invitations to Christmas brunches and parties. The Charis House leadership always takes the ladies out for a Charis House family dinner and Christmas party, usually a week or so before Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve, the ladies attend a candlelight service at Olive Baptist Church, and then on Christmas Day, they cook a traditional Christmas meal together. “We have a family that always donates a large Honeybaked Ham to us for Christmas, and we build our meal around that,” says Ms. Debbe. “The ladies’ families are allowed to visit, and they are invited to eat Christmas Day lunch with us, so that is always a time of fun and celebration.” On New Year’s Eve, the Charis House managers plan something fun for everyone, usually with games, sparklers and lots of laughter.
So, while the ladies of the Charis House don’t get to go home for the holidays, those who care for and mentor them each day try to make home feel a lot closer for them in many ways. As the new year begins, the goal is for each woman to feel loved, encouraged, and ready to continue her journey into the future God has promised.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11