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Discussing religion, spirituality and values. Amy Umble is the religion reporter for The Free Lance-Star. You can email her at
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God Will Provide, Take Two

When I last wrote about the Salvation Army’s holiday efforts, things didn’t look so good. It was the day toys were due and many angel tags still hung on trees–children, the elderly and the disabled who hadn’t been "adopted" for the holidays.

But today, visiting the Angel Tree program’s Toyland, I learned a little about providing in tough times. It looks like the Salvation Army will provide toys and clothes for all 1,500 kids. The group got more requests and fewer donors, as most have this season. But they also have an auxiliary of women who need to be organizing my life. These ladies shop for clothes, toys and little childish knicknacks year round. They know which day Target marks down its dollar merchandise, when other stores set out their clearance racks and how to get some really cool donations. They can repurpose Easter baskets and Valentine’s gifts into stockings and gift baskets. I’ve got an 11-year old who went through three sizes this summer. I could use these ladies’ skills. But I’m glad the Salvation Army has them.

It’s true the kids will probably get fewer gifts this year–and there are definitely less bikes to go around. But it was so exciting today to see how a little bit of ingenuity and a lot of work can make a little go a long way.

And in other news, Fredericksburg Baptist Church plans a walk-through living nativity for the entire community ("It’s our Christmas present to Fredericksburg," said the Rev. Patti English, associate pastor.) And the event will feature a live baby Jesus, most likely little Samuel, born last night to a Burundian family which attends the church.