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[4] His breath filled all things with a living, breathing light – [5] A light that thrives in the depths of darkness, blazes through murky bottoms. It cannot and will not be quenched.

– John 1:4-5 Voice

The holidays can bring a myriad of emotions for many of us. These emotions can range from joy and gratitude to sadness, grief and loneliness as well. Despite what we are going through, God can always use our lives to make a difference in those around us. 

Throughout my life, I have personally benefited from the generosity of others. When I was growing up and had just lost my dad, my mom would invite bodybuilders, former college football players, and others to come to the house to talk with me and my brothers. Although these interactions were sporadic and only for a few hours, they made a lifelong impact as they gave me hope for my future. 

Holiday impact

This past holiday season, my wife and I were reminded of this and inspired by a group of people who decided to be a light to those experiencing difficult times. 

Some friends from our church family in Pittsburg and Delta chose to show great generosity and care by calling the elementary school that their kids attend and asking to adopt families who are facing challenging times with the purpose of providing toys and meals to them for Christmas. 

They were able to adopt five families who had experienced difficult losses and pain over the last two years. One family had lost their dad to a homicide, another’s house burned down, and the remaining three families lost their employment during the Covid-19 pandemic.

With an outpouring of support from the disciples in Antioch, Pittsburg and the Delta area, they were able to donate food supplies, toys, personalized gifts for the kids, and raise over $1,000 in gift cards.

Vision for the new year

This great example reminds us as we are starting 2022 that God has endowed each of us with a special ability for the purpose of doing good in the lives of others which empowers us to bring encouragement to those who need it.

How can we learn from their examples and choose to be generous and care? 

Sam & Tenea Manuel

East Bay Lead Ministers

Sam Manuel

Sam is a former outside linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers. Since retiring from the NFL, Sam has worked in the ministry serving communities in the Bay Area.

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