Thursday, December 22, 2011
Christmas Spirit 2011 Time for a Change
This year I have struggled getting into the worldly “Christmas Season.” Everyone knows what I mean, parties, shopping, blowing money on meaningless things that people don’t need and for some really appreciate. I could go on, but I have been struggling between the “Worldly Christmas Season” and the “Godly Christmas Season.” I have been overwhelmed at the amount of selfishness and greedy attitudes that are being slung around and called “Christmas Spirit.” I thought “I must not have Christmas Spirit because I see it differently.” I always thought ‘tis the season to be jolly and thankful. ‘Tis the season to be with friends and family and share love and give thanks for our saviors birth. I thought, “I don’t want to be around family if it cost me money to put a smile on their face.” It should not cost me anything to be joyful throughout the “Christmas Season.” Thoughts of helping others and sharing the Gospel and God’s love (as He did for us) and being with family and loved ones not to share gifts, but to share hugs and laughter. This is what I have been searching for and would not settle for falling into the worldly “Christmas Season.” I have to admit, I did gift shop. I even got gifts that I felt took away from the true meaning of Christmas and fed into spoiled behaviors and greedy expectations.
I continued to pray for God to put something and someone meaningful in my life that I could share His love for the holidays and even above and beyond the holidays. I prayed that God would bring someone into my life that I could be an exception to and an example to. Someone I could love on that has not been loved on and share Christmas with someone who otherwise would not be sharing Christmas. I prayed for God to stir in the hearts of my family and that they might step out of the “Worldly Christmas Season”, greed and selfishness. I searched Angel Trees, I spoke with people in my small group to see if they knew anyone who needed some help and some extra loving, and I even emailed my Pastor to see if he knew anyone I could reach out to. Then right on time as usual, God showed me someone or put someone in my path that I could be that exception to and share the “Godly Christmas Season” with and rock their world with so much love, laughter, and gratitude and in return show my family what this time of year is really about. Humble them.
Last week I was at my daughter’s head start Christmas party. I was there to do the pictures with Santa for all the kids in the class. One of the parents contacted me on ordering her daughters pictures with Santa. I quickly recognized the name from a brief season of my past. She was filled with joy to finally reconnect with me. She was not favored in her childhood among other kids, and I helped her out in school many years ago. Now grown, with a family the girl was about to help me out in a huge way without her knowledge in doing so. She explained to me she did not have much money, but really would like the pictures I took even if she could buy just one. I told her I would come to her house and we would work out something. I packed my computer, kids, and camera into the car and proceeded to drive to her house. Upon our arrival I knew that was in front of me was a blessing from God to me and my family. We stepped out the car, and stood there broken hearted by what stood ahead. Their home was run down from years of wear-and-tear. Upon their walls were photos of me with her in middle school. There were holes in the floors and broken doors and windows. They slept in the living room because of these things. She poured into me about how lucky she was to have me as her friend growing up and to see me again. She confined in me the fact that her oldest daughter was in foster care and her youngest had a whole in her heart. Jobs were hard to keep for them due to their disabilities, but they try and make do. Suddenly my heart sank. She stated that Santa was not able to come this year, but they were going to fix a dinner and share stories together. I wanted to rush out and cry. My daughter overheard our conversation and was feeling the same as I was. While in the car leaving my oldest daughter said, “Mom, we have to help them.” The thought of a four-year old without a present broke her heart and mine. I won’t lie it sort of made me that much madder at the greed and selfishness that is out there, but I stayed focused on the blessing and answered prayer God had put into my path. Once we returned home I shared the news with my fiancé. I did not think he was really listening to me as he left for work that night. After arriving at work he sent me a surprising text. He stated he had won a $50 gift card to Wal-Mart. Following that message was his nightly call. He stated he wanted to help them. He wanted me to take the card and buy some gifts and started rattling off plans to fix their home and so much more. God was really stirring in his heart now, and I must say I was very proud and happy. My mom agreed to help some and the response and love was abounding.
As of right now, this amazing family will have a Christmas and there will be much more to follow for this family. I am so excited to watch God work in us all through this humbling experience. As much as it seems we are helping them, in all honesty, they are helping us. I am truly blessed and excited for me and my family to get a fresh look at what God’s love can do and the real “reason for the season.”