Dressed in their coziest pajamas, MOPS moms and their children merrily arrived at FBC, Midlothian for the final MOPS meeting of the fall semester. Perhaps the most anticipated of all the MOPS meetings of the year, the “Favorite Things” Christmas gift exchange was not to be missed! All of the children were eager to go to their MOPPPETS classrooms that morning too, not only to hear the Christmas story telling of the birth of Jesus our Savior, but also to have the opportunity to visit with Santa Claus and have their pictures taken with him.
MOPS moms were equally eager to enter the MOPS meeting that morning so that they could place their three favorite things on the gift exchange tables, and so that they could have ample time to savor a scrumptious breakfast provided by the members of the Strong Silver table group. Following breakfast, fantastic door prizes were given away, and then Shelbi, the MOPS Welcome Coordinator, stood in front of the group to speak about Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the hope all moms can find in her story. Shelbi described all that Mary had going against her, but that none of those things disqualified her from being used by God in the most profound way. Shelbi encouraged the MOPS moms to take inspiration from Mary’s story. Mary bravely believed that God could use even her, and through her, the course of history was forever altered. MOPS moms can also be used by God to do marvelous things, if they too would bravely and courageously say yes to the Lord, just as Mary did.
At the conclusion of Shelbi’s encouraging message of hope, Elizabeth, the MOPS Hospitality Coordinator, asked for one volunteer from each table group. The volunteers then participated in a hilarious holiday version of the classic group game, “Chubby Bunnies.” Marshmallows had never been as funny as they were that morning! Not only was the game entertaining for all, but it helped to determine which table group could select their “Favorite Things” gift exchange items first.
Then, one by one, the table groups were given the opportunity to choose items from the gift exchange tables. During this time, the room was filled with moms thrilled to open their gifts to discover the simple treasures that were held within the gift bags and boxes. From homemade salsa, to handmade infinity scarves, to fresh fudge, to cheese graters, to make-up, to gift cards, to homemade body butters and sugar scrubs, moms were treated to a lovely array of gifts from their fellow MOPS members. Not only did the moms share in the joy of the exchange, but they learned more about each other as each gift came with a note of explanation or a story explaining the significance of the gift from the mom who had brought it.
After the gift exchange, the MOPS moms enjoyed a lengthy time of visiting with their table group friends, and much laughter could be heard throughout the room. Table groups could be seen gathering together to take photos in front of the Christmas tree, and smiles abounded. As the meeting drew to a close, Becca, the MOPS Coordinator, prayed over the group and wished everyone a safe and happy Christmas and New Year. She encouraged all moms to return in January for the start of the MOPS spring semester where moms from all over the local community will continue to find hope and encouragement, support and friendship, and the reminder that they are not alone on their journey through motherhood.