I love Christmas more and more each year; not because I receive better gifts and not because I am more intentional and deliberate about the gifts I give, but because I am finally figuring out how to celebrate Christmas.
When I was a young boy I made sure I was in bed early on Christmas Eve, so I would not hinder the “jolly gift bringer” in his work of rewarding me for being nice. As I grew, I began to find joy in surprising my family and friends with the perfect gift. When Melissa and I married and began to share Christmas with our wee little ones whose eyes danced with the lights, I thought, “Yep, Christmas is about grateful receiving, joyful giving, and a genuine enjoyment of family and friends.”
Finally, one year while reading the account of Jesus’ birth in the gospel of Matthew 1:21, a saying I had written off as cliché’ ran through my mind and for the first time became real to me; “the reason for the season.”
“Matthew 1:21 (ESV) 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
I don’t know how many times in my life I had heard, “Jesus is the reason for the season” and thought “can’t we come up with a better Christian Christmas slogan than that?” But, at that moment those words became etched into my soul. No matter how much I wanted to restate this overused phrase (or so I thought of it then), I could not. No other phrase would serve me as a permanent guardrail in keeping me from running off the road into the ditch of forgetfulness.
The reason for this season of celebration is, always has been, and will be forevermore, that Jesus came to save his people from their sins. God became a man; he became the savior of sinners so these sinners could by faith become the children of God and inherit eternal blessings all for the glory of God.
Wow! It is no wonder we want to prepare a feast for Christmas. We have something to celebrate! It is good and right to give and receive gifts as our hearts overflow with thanksgiving and joy at this glorious proclamation. We can begin to understand why someone might become so excited about this CHRIST-mas truth that they give an exorbitant number of gifts while at the same time content with receiving none. That’s how the “Christ-time” spirit can affect us. We can be overwhelmed at the receiving of gifts and overjoyed at the giving of gifts.
So, enjoy both the giving and receiving of gifts at Christmas, but remember that all our celebrating flows from the simple truth, Jesus was born to save.
Remind us Lord of life and grace
How once, to save our fallen race,
You put our human vesture (clothing) on
And came to us as Mary’s son.
Today, as year by year its light
Brings to our world a promise bright
One precious truth outshines the sun:
Salvation comes from You alone.
(translated from a 6th century Latin hymn)
Chaplain James Chavis
The Barnabas Awards began a couple of years ago, designed by our leadership team to have our employees select the people who, on a quarterly and annual basis, inspire them to be their best by living the values of our Barnabas Culture.
Barnabas, a disciple of Jesus Christ, serves as an example of many attributes necessary for HealthKeeperz to operate as a strong, vibrant, Christ-honoring organization. Our approach to providing the highest standard of community-based health care services to the people of North Carolina, defined as our Barnabas Culture, seeks to promote and recognize HealthKeeperz team members who have served our company, our patients, and our people by being a Barnabas.
Colleagues recognized at our quarterly and annual Barnabas Awards contribute to the HealthKeeperz mission of caring for all people for the glory of God. The ultimate goal of the Barnabas Culture at HealthKeeperz is to build a community of caregivers who are caring, selfless, humble, and encourage their teammates.
In this series, Portraits of Barnabas, we are highlighting the winners of this special award. In our first installment, we honored hospice care division employee Janet Locklear, winner of our quarterly Barnabas Award during the first quarter of 2016. Today, we’re going to look at 2016 quarterly and annual “Super Barnabas” winner Timmie Stultz, enjoying the perspectives of Timmie’s teammates who nominated him for his daily expression of the HealthKeeperz mission and values.
Described as friendly and caring, Timmie is the “go-to” guy at the Healthkeeperz home medical equipment division. Many of his colleagues said that Timmie routinely goes the extra mile, and one medical device vendor even bragged about Timmie’s outstanding service to customers on his day off. According to a colleague, “One of our vendors shared with me that he was playing golf with Timmie one Saturday. After receiving the weekend call, on his day off—and on the golf course—Timmie was as accessible and responsive to our customer as he would have been any other day!”
Not only does Timmie Stultz make an impact on his colleagues and customers with home medical equipment, but across the entire company with his selflessness. Another of Timmie’s co-workers highlighted this attribute, stating that “whether it’s his department or another one, he’ll do whatever it takes to get you the help you need.”
Even though Timmie has been with the company many years, his energy for pleasing our customers is as fresh as when he was a new employee. One of his co-workers stated that Timmie “will drop everything, hop in a van, and personally deliver the equipment our patients need, any time.”
The bottom line is that people know that in Timmie Stultz, they will consistently see someone who cares about them, encourages them, and is selfless and humble in the way he goes about his life and work. We are proud to have Timmie Stultz as part of the HealthKeeperz family, someone we all know we can count on in difficult times, always reliable and with a great attitude.
The HealthKeeperz family would like to again congratulate Timmie Stultz, winner of our annual Super Barnabas Award for 2016. Stay tuned to learn more about our previous Barnabas Award winners in the coming weeks and months.
At HealthKeeperz, we believe that our relationships with our patients and their families go beyond any care provided and services rendered. We believe that every one of the lives we touch are part of our enduring community, and we look for ways to serve families long after their care needs have been met by our team.
A great example of this community care dynamic is our annual hospice memorial services. We know that families continue to grieve long after their loved ones pass on to the afterlife, so we like to honor the families of hospice patients who have passed during the last year during these services.
On November 9, we held a service for families of hospice patients in Fayetteville and surrounding areas at Fayetteville’s Cape Fear Church of Christ, and on November 16, we held a similar service at Crossway of Pembroke honoring families in Robeson and surrounding counties.
The twin hospice memorial services featured multiple opportunities for families to both grieve and reflect on the lives of their deceased loved ones. Families participated in a candlelight ceremony honoring their loved ones, and they also took the opportunity to share from their hearts about their loved ones and their respective hospice experiences.
“Both services, in Fayetteville and Pembroke, were incredible,” said HealthKeeperz President Tim Brooks. “The encouragement that came from the voices of the grieving meant so much to all of us from HealthKeeperz, as many families thanked the hospice caregivers who served them in their time of need. Similarly, the hospice team had yet another opportunity to care for these beloved families.”
Brooks also noted that the occasions were marked in positive ways and weren’t burdened by the sad reasons for the gatherings. “These types of events sound sad on the surface,” he said, “but they really weren’t. The hospice families really encouraged and cared for the HealthKeeperz hospice team by their attendance and their encouraging words. When you leave a hospice engagement, from the caregiver’s perspective, it’s nice to know that these families are able to live happy lives touched by those who’ve passed away.”
At the conclusion of each service, the hospice families and the HealthKeeperz hospice team shared a meal together before parting ways.
Being an organization that’s dedicated to caring for all for the glory of God takes hard, emotional work sometimes. But the spiritual and emotional rewards from providing first-class, heartfelt hospice care are too many to count for our team at HealthKeeperz.