What would you bring baby Jesus? How Our Saviour Lutheran Church is helping children worldwide at Christmas

We all know the story of the Magi. Following a bright star from the East to Bethlehem, they found Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus in a humble stable. They brought gifts fitting for the King of Kings — gold, frankincense and myrrh.  

Have you ever thought, if given the chance, what you would give baby Jesus? 

A close-up image of Frya looking into the camara
Frya Barnes has been making Baby Care Kits for more than 30 years.

Frya Barnes has pondered this question. Some 60 years ago, when she moved from California to New York with her 2-year-old son, they began personally bringing a gift to baby Jesus. She wrapped a package of cloth diapers in white tissue paper, and she and her son laid it by the manger at the altar. Frya chose to wrap the gift in white to symbolize God’s pure love and holiness. 

And every single Christmas for the last 30-plus years, she has asked the children of the congregation to choose an item from the Baby Care Kit list, purchase it, wrap it in white tissue paper and lay it by the Creche in front of the altar as a gift to baby Jesus.  

LWR Baby Care Kits laid in front of the altar at Our Saviour Lutheran Church
LWR Baby Care Kits laid in front of the altar at Our Saviour Lutheran Church, Croton-on-Hudson, NY.

The children can bring their gifts any time before Christmas Day and lay them at the altar as an offering. Then after Christmas, Karen Polacek and Marilyn Grantner assemble LWR Baby Care Kits with the gift items. 

Karen and Marilyn coordinate with Lois Leanord on putting together Baby Care Kits all year long. Lois heads Our Saviour’s Christian Crafters: A small but mighty group that formed seven years ago. This dedicated team not only sews items for the Baby Care Kits, but also makes Quilts, School Kits and Personal Care Kits for LWR. They also host a public event each year for National Quilting Day that attracts new members. 


Karen Polacek and Marilyn Grantner assemble LWR Baby Care Kits.

“She’s being modest,” says Lois. “We help Frya, but she originated this idea and she’s full of energy!” Now, Karen and Marilyn have stepped up to ensure this wonderful tradition of bringing gifts to baby Jesus continues. 

“There are people so much worse off than us, we can’t even imagine it,” Frya says. “I think it’s great LWR is able to do so much, and it certainly helps people.”  

During Advent, Christmas and all throughout the year, sharing love with our neighbors is a precious and holy calling. We thank God for Frya, Lois, and Quilters and Kit-Makers across the United States for faithfully answering that call!