Christmas is a time of family traditions, be it a certain food for dinner; a family activity; or a gift that gets handed down from generation to generation. Ed Williams remembers Christmas dinners surrounded by strangers and neighbours. His mother would open her doors every Christmas and feed anyone who happened to stop by, whether they needed a warm meal, a jacket, or a friendly hug for the holidays. About eight years ago, due to illness, his mother was unable to continue this tradition. So Ed and his wife Cathy have continued to open their doors and hearts every Christmas; their daughter Sherry baking pies for dessert and other family members pitching in to help. Year after year, out of their three bedroom home they would feed up to 100 people, never asking for anything in return. This year, because of Ed's health issues, Pastor Ken opened up Bethel Church and volunteered his congregation to help Ed accommodate almost 400 people to a 2 pm and a 6 pm seating dinner. Looking at the empty plates and happy faces, dinner was a success.
When asked what he plans to do on Christmas Day this year since his annual dinner is done, he smiled sheepishly and didn't respond. My guess is that he will be up at 6 am to throw some turkeys in the oven and will leave his front door open. Ed will still be carrying on his tradition of a warm meal with the fellowship of his community, gifting his neighbours with love and an open and generous heart.