Katelynn Hardee is one of my Advent Angels this year. They always show up for me, year in and year out, without fail. Every Advent, they bless my season with messages of compassion. Every Advent, we get to hear from them. In the Bible it is the Angel Gabriel who makes a strong appearance in the first chapter of Luke and plays an integral part in carrying God’s message. You do know, don’t you, that the word “angel” means ‘messenger’ in Greek? Gabriel starts out by saying ‘be not afraid,’ though it seems everyone who meets Gabriel is terrified. But the angel assures them to not be afraid, for the message is overflowing with good news!
As for me, there are additional Advent messengers that bring me proclamations of love and peace and kindness – other Advent Angels that bring me God’s messages of hope into the midst of a high octane season of busyness and stress. They are sometimes little children’s voices singing at church. They are fellow staff members going above and beyond their jobs and tasks to help and assist and give. They are charitable people who go an extra mile. They are store clerks who help you find an app on your phone that gives you even more savings. They are folks stringing festive lights to shine against a cold night. And they are strangers spreading peace and goodwill wherever they go.
One came to me this week as I read about her on social media at the end of a lengthy day. I was just flipping through a few posts before calling it a night, and was overjoyed to learn about her. This Advent Angel’s name is Katelynn Hardee and she overheard her mother and another parent talking about how some kids still owed money on their school lunch account, causing some financial hardships. She later asked her mother why that was, and the mom turned it into a teachable moment about haves and have-nots, and how some people aren’t as fortunate as Katelynn is. Now that just didn’t sit right with Katelynn, so she put together a hot-cocoa fund-raiser (kind of like a seasonal lemonade stand) to help pay off her school friends’ debts. And this little five-year-old, and yes you read that right she is only five, sold cocoa, cider and cookies on a recent Sunday, selling out her treats in three hours time. But she raised $80 which she then donated to help retire some of the debt that others owed.
The principal at Katelynn’s school in Vista, CA, said this: “It goes to show that even one, small kind act from a 5-year-old can mean the difference for someone in their life.” Sure it wasn’t a giant wide-sweeping piece of legislation to address the larger problem of school lunch debts – a problem that does need addressing. And it wasn’t an effort to lift the impoverished class as a whole out of their precarious situations – another problem that does need addressing. But it was one small act of kindness. She saw a need, figured out a way to help, and went at it. It was an act of compassion that thankfully got some wider attention.
She influenced others and so now children, parents and teachers are planning on a larger effort bake sale to help draw down the debt for students, not just at Breeze Hill Elementary School, but all throughout that Vista, CA school district. It is amazing how one act of kindness can become the spark to create such a larger act of humanity, kindness, and love. Thank you Katelynn Hardee for being one of my Advent Angels this year. And how about you? Have you seen some angels at work among us? Or have you, yourself, been trying out your own wings so as to take the message of God’s love, and enacting it through your words and deeds. Your voice can indeed join the angel’s chorus over the fields in Bethlehem, singing “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace among all the people!”
May you be blessed in your worship experiences this Christmas!