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
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).
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
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
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.
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?
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
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
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.
survived by her sister, Kate Ziegelheafer, a brother, Gordon Reuben McQuay, and
many nieces and
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
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
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.
board with missions
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.