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All is forgiven

She was a grown woman of nearly 50 years of age when an encounter one Christmas season not long ago made everything right in her troubled soul. Childhood memories of Christmas were not pleasant. Her father left when she was quite young, and thereafter Christmas became an annual reminder of how poor she was. As an adult she became one of those rare people for whom Christmas held very little joy.

Late in life she finally reached out for help. With much therapy, and heaps of love and patience from her husband, children and adopted parents, she began to emerge from her self-imposed yuletide exile. Only one thing remained.

Just down the street from our corps, a jolly man filled his yard with a brilliant Christmas display of lights and decorations. He even set up a small shed where he sat dressed as Santa to receive neighborhood children. Our grown lady decided to do something quite unusual, if not a bit embarrassing. One evening she stood in line to speak to Santa. He must have been surprised to see this adult, but as he listened he understood the reason.

"All my life I hated Christmas, and I blamed you," she said to Santa, knowing the truth, yet making the confession as if he were the real thing. "But I'm well now, and I need to ask you to forgive me."

A tear came to Santa's eye as he rightly concluded that here was a soul finally finding inner-peace. His simple answer: "All is forgiven."

If our heavenly Father can use a stranger to restore calm in a troubled life, then He can also use this as a Christmas message for you, no matter who you are or what you've done: And He said unto her, "Thy sins are forgiven" (Luke 7:48).

Skipping Christmas

I know that what I am about to say is not politically correct for a Salvationist to think, much less say. But I could skip the entire Christmas season and not miss it one bit.

I know it is a time in which the world takes notice of who

and what we are about.

I know that it is the time of year in which literally millions of families across the United States receive help with food baskets to feed themselves. Millions of children receive toys they thought they had no hope of receiving. Impoverished parents are spared the heartbreak of seeing their children left out on Christmas morn.

I know that hundreds of thousands of individuals will receive a very human touch this Christmas as our League of Mercy workers go from room to room, person to person, in senior care facilities and nursing homes. They'll come bearing gifts, but it will be the touch of their hands and the sound of their voices that will bless those in the fading years of their lives.

I know that in very hard places like jails and prisons we are the very tangible presence of the God of the second, third and fourth chance as we walk the corridors handing out tokens of love and acceptance where many are lost in hate and rejection not only of a system but of life itself.

I know that in countless corps buildings and adult rehabilitation centers across this land that people who are leading broken lives gather with people who love them and care for them as they mend their lives. They gather not as saints and sinners. Rather they gather on these Christmas Sundays as a family united in the expectation and wonder of the new life and hope that Christ brought into this world with His birth.

I know that in numerous hospitals a Salvation soldier will arrive with toys for the children's ward of the hospital. They will stay and pray with the children who lives are hanging in the balance between life and death on the Eve of a day that shouts out the hope of life joyful and eternal. Toys will be left behind and families in despair will be encouraged.

I know that this Christmas Eve and morning countless corps officers will be called from their homes and families. They will be going to a family that has been forgotten by all, except for the shelter supervisor. They go to an elderly person's house where the car full of children and grandchildren did not arrive this year - that elderly saint will be hungry and alone. Some will have the solemn and tender task of going to be with a family that has lost a loved one and is alone in its grief.

I know that on Dec. 26 those officers, soldiers, League of Mercy workers, Christmas volunteers, advisory board members and employees will awake with a sense of having done good things for people and of having provided sacramental service to the Lord.

I know the measure of the sacrifice of time, talent and treasure is immeasurable by earthly standards. How do you quantify the hug that is given to the weeping mother, or the brightness of a 7-year-old child's smile when he takes the first look at a bike under his tree? How do you measure your reach into the soul of an incapacitated stroke victim whose eyes tear over as you simply stroke his forehead?

I know there is a measure by a heavenly standard: "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter unto the joys of the Lord."

I know I could skip the Christmas season except that one bit of me that is all of me.

Major Doris McQuay

Major Doris Y. McQuay was promoted to Glory Nov. 18, 2006, from a hospice center in Salisbury, Md. The service celebrating her life was held at Duda-Ruck Funeral Home in Dundalk, Md., and the committal service was at Gardens of Faith cemetery. Major Gene Hogg and Major Keith Biggers conducted the services.

Major Doris Yvonne McQuay was born May 7, 1923, in Bozman, Md. After completing training in Atlanta, Major McQuay was commissioned in May 1952 as a member of the Intercessors session. She will be remembered for her joy and bright wit in the Army's Homes and Hospitals for Unwed Mothers in Birmingham, Ala.; Tampa, Fla.; Louisville, Ky., and Richmond, Va. Major McQuay also served at the day nursery in Baltimore and was the director of the Girls Club in Winston-Salem, N.C., before retiring from active service on May 31, 1985. She spent her retirement as a Christian comic traveling to Salvation Army senior camps in the Eastern Territory, and she was elected Woman of the Year by the Army in Salisbury in 2005.

She is survived by her sister, Kate Ziegelheafer, a brother, Gordon Reuben McQuay, and many nieces and nephews.

Brigadier Flora Moore

Mrs. Brigadier Flora Moore was promoted to Glory suddenly on Nov. 20, 2006, from her home in Atlanta. Her funeral service was held Nov. 25 at Atlanta Temple Corps. The burial service was held at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta.

Flora Skiados was born July 19, 1919, in Washington and first attended The Salvation Army after being invited to come to a tent meeting there in 1935. She enrolled as a soldier at the Washington Southeast Corps a year later. She was active in the corps for several years before entering training in 1942. She was commissioned with the Valiant session of 1943 and appointed to the training staff as a probationary captain. Later she served in appointments in the Field Department, Staff Department and the chief secretary's office.

Flora was married to Brigadier Robert Moore Sept. 30, 1967. They served together in the Georgia and Maryland-North West Virginia divisions as financial secretary and League of Mercy secretary. They were appointed to Southern Territorial Headquarters in August 1977 as territorial auditor and assistant territorial League of Mercy secretary.

The Moores retired June 2, 1980, to their lakefront home at Georgia's Lake Lanier. Bob was promoted to Glory in 1987. Flora soldiered at Atlanta Temple Corps for many years, and when she was unable to make the trip from her home at Lake Lanier, she was a faithful soldier at the Gainesville Corps.

Flora is remembered for her warmth, her caring spirit and cheerful outlook. She was devoted to her family and friends.

She is survived by her stepchildren, Beverly VanLandingham, Ruth Jones and Robert P. and Beth Moore; grandchildren Woody and Amy Jones, Ashley and Grady Hockersmith and Nate, Tyler and Caleb Moore; and great grandchildren Coleman and Chase Jones.

On board with missions

The Girl Guards at the Morehead City, N.C., Corps helped raise awareness in their corps about Salvation Army missionary work overseas by erecting a prayer board. Pictured with the board are (L-R) Mercy Czanderna, Toneisha Mathis and Samone George. Each corps and adult rehabilitation center in the Southern Territory is being encouraged to erect missionary prayer boards.

 






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