Our Season of Service

Inspired by some friends of our family, the Marshall family has decided to try a new way of exchanging Christmas gifts in 2012. We hope it will become a wonderful family tradition.
For years, the four Marshall children, their spouses, and their parents exchanged gifts every Christmas, but in 2011, we decided the gift-giving tradition may need a change since we are all so blessed and in need of truly nothing. We decided we needed to find a better way to celebrate the true Christmas spirit.

We suggested that we each perform acts of service in the name of the sibling whose name we were assigned at random. Our service will be kept a secret until Christmas Day.

Our friend drew the names for us and notified each of us privately of the person who should inspire our service. On Christmas Day, we reveal who we were given and how we chose to serve by posting our stories on The Marshall Family Season of Service blog.

We hope this tradition will help us focus on serving our communities and each other during the annual celebration of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

We invite you to come back to our blog on Christmas morning to read this year's service.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

The homeless man in front of our library (From: Craig To:Scott)

Dear Scott,

There is a poor homeless man who lives in front of our library here in Herndon. We have seen him outside all year round as we have come and gone from activities. Sometimes he sleeps in the covered parking garage, some time he is on a bench, sometimes out front under the overhang. He has never asked for money or food. He just sits and sometimes talks to himself and the wall. Clearly this poor man is truly homeless and truly in need of help.

As a family we talked about what this man's life must be like living on the street with no possessions or family.  We talked about the kind of things that a man like this might need to help him survive the cold winter days and nights. We talked about things that might keep him healthy and make him happier. We talked about why this man might choose to live the way that he does. The kids asked a lot of questions about this man, and I think learned a lot.

After we talked about what he might need we put a bag together containing items that might makes this man's life better. Then as a family we drove to the library to deliver our Christmas gift. We found the man sitting behind a wall under a pile of grocery bags to stay warm. I had never spoken to him before, and realized for the first time that the was probably only a few years younger than me. I wished him a merry Christmas and handed him the gift. That was all I said and he was happy to dive into his present.

Service can remind us that life is not easy or fair. I am grateful for the Savior who blesses us and then encourages us to go and share our blessing with those in need. Many of life's most important lessons would go unlearned without service. I thank God today for sending us his Son to help us learn those lessons and enrich our lives as well as others.

Merry Christmas!


  1. Thanks a lot for the post. I was a first time visitor to the library today and felt very bad to see him sitting outside on bench. Just didn't know how to help until I googled and came across your blog post. I will make him a nice package and drop by tomorrow:)