OSAGE | The light of compassion for those who could not be with family on Christmas Eve broke the night’s loneliness with the help of members of the First United Methodist Church in Osage.

Taking a suggestion from Pastor Sam Mack to heart, several members of the congregation on Wednesday night scooped up packaged plates of cookies and candies following the Christmas Eve service, and delivered them to those who had to work nights.

“This is great,” said Don Breon, a dispatcher at the Mitchell County Sheriff’s Office, after receiving a package from First UMC members Jon and Karri Gansen of Plymouth. “Wow. There is a lot here. It feels like someone cares about those who have to work when everyone else has the day off.”

Karri was among the first to sign up to deliver the treats, as a tribute to her father, the late Neil Newton. Newton, a longtime Osage police officer, “worked so many nights, on Christmas Eves. This is a way to give back.”

One by one, the packages, about 10 of them, made their way to nursing homes, assisted living centers, the Mitchell County Regional Health Center, the Mitchell County Care Facility, and Comp Systems among them. Several members of the congregation baked and crafted all manner of treats to fill the packages.

“It is a way to reach out to those who have to work and can’t be with their families,” said Mack.

She added that it was also a way “to put into practice the sermon for the evening.”

Mack urged congregation members to turn from the “want” of Christmas to the way of Jesus Christ. In an increasingly self-involved world, the selfless giving to others honor’s Christ, she said.

“The gift of Christmas is the gift of love,” she said.

Beth Griffin of Osage, who was getting ready to deliver a package to Comp Systems, said she thought the idea of giving the treats “was a wonderful idea.”

“I wanted to do something meaningful on Christmas Eve,” she said. “I was an LPN for years, and would have loved this.”

Fellow church member Brenda Weber of Osage agreed.

“I just wanted those who had to work to know that someone was thinking of them,” she said. “Just wanted to spread some joy.”

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