“I just got Christmas’D at NanaTaco.”
“Somebody's about to get Christmas’D at the gas station.”
“Just Christmas’D a lady in the drive-thru as I'm pulling off. She is screaming.”
Those are some of the “tweets” you’ll find on line, featuring true-life testimonies of an old idea that’s been given a new twist: doing random acts of kindness to strangers. It’s called, “You Got Christmas’D,” and it’s the brainchild of the creative folks over at NewHope Church.
“We’ve got 5,000-plus NewHopers going out into the community to ‘Christmas’ someone,” says Pastor Benji Kelley. “So if they’re sitting in a café somewhere and if there’s a person behind them, they might pick up their coffee, buy it for them and say, ‘You got Christmas’D!’ Or, let’s say your neighbor is crazy-busy and you notice their car needs washing or their leaves need to be raked. We’ve got stories of NewHopers raking a yard and leaving a card that says, ‘You got Christmas’D’.”
NewHope has printed up thousands of cards for its members to pass on or leave behind after they’ve done their good deeds. And listed on the card is a website, YouGotChristmasD.com . There, the recipient can learn more about the idea and post their experience.
Kelley says it’s a take-off on the prank TV show, “Punk’d,” except that in this case it’s not to trick anyone, but to bless them. He says members of the multi-site church, with campuses in Durham, Garner and Sanford, have really taken to the idea.
“I think of one story the other day-- somebody bought the food behind them in the drive-thru at Wendy’s and they got so excited and were having so much fun with it that they drove off and forgot to get their own food! It’s the whole pay-it-forward notion: God has Christmas’D us with this incredible gift of love in Christ. Let’s go out and give that same gift of love to other people.”
Pastor Kelley says he’s tying it all together with a series of sermons this month on the true meaning of Christmas. NewHope’s You Got Christmas’D campaign will continue until the end of December, but Kelley says that won’t be the end of it.
“We already know we’re going to do it next year as well because this thing has caught on so big. It’ll be something we do for several years -- ride this wave.”
You can read more stories about people who have been Christmas’D at this link.
Several Triangle churches, including Watts Chapel Missionary Baptist in Raleigh, along with Union Baptist and White Rock Baptist in Durham, have banded together to collect much-needed items for victims of Superstorm Sandy in the northeast. The winter coats, blankets, diapers, toiletries, etc. will be sent to Operation Newark Recovery in New Jersey. The project began on November 25th, with a final collection celebration to take place at Watts Chapel during the church’s Christmas concert this Sunday evening (December 16th) at 5pm.
Bishop Michael Burbidge will perform the Rite of Blessing of the Child in the Womb this Sunday, at Saint Michael the Archangel in Cary. Expectant families are asked to attend the 10:30am Mass to receive a special blessing from the Bishop. Many other parishes across the Diocese of Raleigh will mark the ceremony in their own parishes.
Modern hymnwriters Keith and Kristyn Getty are bringing their “Joy – An Irish Christmas” program to the Triangle again this year, this time at DPAC. Visitors will be treated to hymns, carols, and more next Tuesday night (December 18th). Singers from several area churches will be lending their voices to the 300-person choir on stage that night.
Nativity scenes are commonplace this time of year, but Raleigh’s All Saints United Methodist Church is doing it a little differently. The church is promising a unique Christmas Eve worship experience: “Christmas Eve in a Barn.” Their worship services will take place at 3:30, 5:30, and 7:30pm on December 24th at Page Farms near Brier Creek.