Embracing the giving spirit

'Layaway in a Manger' spreads meaning of Christmas

It’s the absolute, total opposite of the Grinch.

 

Whereas the Dr. Seuss character rode in quietly at night to stealthily steal the Whos’ Christmas – even the roast beast! – in Augusta some church members have been sneaking into stores to anonymously pay off customers’ layaway accounts.

Yep. The anti-Grinch.

Wesley United Methodist Church in Evans, whose members are fanning out to do this, is calling it “Layaway in a Manger.”

Among a plethora of community services, the church has long spread Christmas cheer through a “Random Acts of Christian Kindness” program. But the Layaway in a Manger movement, which was inspired by a similar program in Michigan, has brought a new wrinkle to the Christmas stockings this year.

What a gorgeous act of kindness – and a what a beautiful merging of the normally competing “meanings” of Christmas:
to wrap the material part with all the love and Christian spirit of the real meaning of Christmas.

And for strangers unnamed, yet.

“They just keep coming, more and more of them,” Jeff Gorelick, owner of Ruben’s Department Store downtown, told The Augusta Chronicle’s Kelly Jasper. “They paid a lady’s layaway yesterday. It had $115 left for a handbag she had been paying on for four months. She started hugging me and crying. It was the greatest thing.”

Not as great as the giving, though, or the spirit behind it.

God bless us, everyone.

Evans church members pay strangers' layaway accounts for Christmas

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