“Christmas is a tonic for our souls….”

B.C. Forbes further explains, “….It moves us to think of others rather than of ourselves. It directs our thoughts to giving.”  Today is unofficially recognized as the first official day of the Christmas Season. Stores are full of “perfect gifts” trimmed in red and green; ads for jewelry, perfumes, the latest technology, and toys flood the airwaves; and in malls across America, children can be found sitting with Santa and telling him what they hope to find when they wake up on Christmas morning. It’s impossible to miss the theme: Christmas is a time for giving.

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Many families have changed their traditions so that gift-giving is no longer the primary focus of this time of year, as some feel that the holiday meant to celebrate the birth of our Savior has become too commercialized; however, giving gifts can be a pure expression of our love for others.  In fact, God himself gave humankind the greatest gift of all: God in human form, the only perfect person ever to walk the earth, whose sole purpose was to die so that we might live.

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Gift giving can also “open doors” so that Christians might share this good news.  For children who don’t always have daily necessities, much less extras such as presents, receiving a gift shows that there are people in the world who love them, even if they’ve never met.  This often makes them more receptive to hearing about Jesus, another man they haven’t met face-to-face, but who loves them enough to have died for them.  To this end, Hillcrest’s Upper School students donated enough toys and candy to fill approximately 200 stockings, which will allow the staff and congregation of City Church to minister to local needy children.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

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Where Are They Now? – Mandy Horton

Mandy Rutland attended Hillcrest for 13 years, beginning in 5-year-old kindergarten and continuing through 12th grade, graduating as part of the Class of 2002.  Mandy was a member of the yearbook staff for 2 years, and she was a cheerleader from 6th through 12th grades.

After graduation, she attended Mississippi College and majored in Elementary Education. She has been teaching for 9 years at the k-5 and first grade levels.  She currently teaches K5 at Hartfield Academy in Flowood. She is married to Jason Horton (another Hillcrest alumnus), and they have two children: Hunter, who is 9, and Baliegh, who is 9 months.

Mike Salter of Brandon pauses to make a donation in the red kettle recently with Salvation Army bell ringer Violet Thompson of Raymond outside the Flowood Walmart. Cailyn Rhedin, 3, and Brenda Moffett of Brandon slip a donation into the Salvation Army red kettle. Mike Salter stops to make a donation while Flowood Rotary Club members Roscoe Greene and Sherry Cook, both of Brandon, volunteer as Salvation Army bell ringers outside the Flowood Walmart recently. Salvation Army bell ringer Violet Thompson of Raymond explains that another option for donors this year is the donation kiosk.

Mandy’s message to Hillcrest students is “never give up on your dreams. Always try hard in everything you do and give over 100 percent. Most of all, keep your eyes and heart open to the Lord and listen to His ways; they are always better than your own.”

Giving Tuesday

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Today is Giving Tuesday, “a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.
Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.”  Last year over 700,000 people joined the movement and raised 116,000,000 dollars online; as word spreads and the movement grows, no doubt gifts to worthy organizations will grow as well.

The best way to get involved is to give within your own community, whether with some of your time or with a monetary gift.  Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to our school, so that Hillcrest may continue our increasingly important mission: reaching students for Christ, emphasizing academic excellence, and incorporating Christ-like values in all extracurricular activities.  If you’d like to do so online, please click the Annual Fund picture in the sidebar below, and thank you for your consideration!

Better to Give Than to Receive

“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” – Luke 6:38

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Ready or not, Christmas is almost upon us.  ‘Tis the season for joy and goodwill for most people of the world, but especially for those of us who are believers in Christ.  It is up to Christians to remember and promote the real “reason for the season”: the birth of our Savior, and the peace which knowing Him brings.  Christmas should be a time of peace for the believer; however, we often fall prey to the worldly view of Christmas — all about giving and receiving — which competes with and pushes us away from the peace which we so desperately need, and which only He can provide.

Hillcrest is working to keep the proper focus on Christmas by sponsoring two giving projects — one among Lower School students, and another in the Upper School — for children who may not otherwise have any gifts to open on Christmas morning.

The Lower School has already fulfilled the needs for their Giving Tree — wow!  However, we still need Upper School students to bring a bag of candy and 5 one-dollar toys in order to fill stockings for approximately 80 needy children (between the ages of 3 and 10) who live in the metro area.  The deadline for these items is Thursday by 8:30 AM.  Parents, please encourage your children to get involved and to make a difference in some child’s life.  It truly is better to give than to receive!

We Give Thanks

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The Hillcrest family as a whole is greatly blessed; most of us have health, a home, family, friends, and food in great abundance. And more often than not, we have an attitude of thanksgiving, recognizing that God has given us so much more than we deserve. Sometimes though, in the midst of daily obligations and trials, we forget, and we focus more on the few things that are wrong than on all that is right in our lives.

Those of us who work with children are no exception; we are prone to complaining about the difficult tasks of teaching and counseling and guiding young minds. However, in the midst of a much-needed break from this hard work, the administration, faculty, and staff of HCS want to express how we thankful we are for the almost-daily opportunity to love and teach your children.  Thank you, parents and guardians, for entrusting us with your most priceless treasure.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

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