Christmas is a time of fellowship, when family and friends gather to share in the love and peace of the season. For many older adults in our community, however, it can also be a lonely time, when chilly weather limits physical activity and high heating bills leave little money for travel or gifts. The Salvation Army has helped seniors through these difficult times for many years, visiting shut-ins, assisted living centers and veterans to bring Christmas cheer and minister to their emotional and spiritual needs.
In central Indiana, the highlight of the season is The Salvation Army’s annual Older Adult Christmas Luncheon at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis. Over 300 seniors attend the luncheon, many of whom are participants in year-long older adult ministry programs at our local corps community centers. Dressed to the nines in their holiday best, these men and women are treated to a festive meal, complete with decorations, music, entertainment and devotions led by the leader of The Salvation Army Indiana Division, Major Bob Webster.
As guests arrive, they seek out friends they haven’t seen for months, laugh together as they compare over-the-top Christmas hats, and embrace volunteers and Salvation Army officers they’ve gotten to know through the years. It is a joyous day, filled with smiles, laughter and an abundance of Christmas spirit.
The Freetown Village Singers entertained guests this year with renditions of Christmas carols, gospel music and traditional songs that are a part of our nation’s rich, multi-cultural history. From “Amazing Grace” to “This Little Light of Mine,” the crowd sang and clapped along with the ringing musical numbers.
Though the joyous gathering lasted only a few hours, programs like this have a tremendous impact on our older neighbors, bringing much needed cheer and laughter to them during an often difficult time of the year. As The Salvation Army continues to reach out to seniors who may feel isolated this winter, we encourage you to visit your older neighbors, call a parent or grandparent who is far away, or volunteer your time at a nursing home or community center. Every act of kindness means more that you will ever know, especially at Christmas. Thank you, and God bless!