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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

.It Feels Different.

Christmas feels different this year.


We still have a tree and a warmly decorated home, but we didn't pull out all of the Christmas boxes. Christmas seems more meaningful this year somehow, and yet I don't feel the need to stress about things such as decorations, cookies, and gifts. A few decorations are hung, we will bake when the mood strikes, and the gifts....

I never have fun shopping for Christmas. It is just something I have to do. I hate fighting the crowds, I hate feeling as if I am buying for people just because I have to, without really being able to invest much thought into the gift. This year Jim and I challenged ourselves to shop with a purpose, which for us meant only purchasing gifts where the money spent would go towards some kind of social injustice. I thought it would be hard, inconvenient, and just as tedious as always. But I was wrong. I have had the most fun shopping this year! Every gift was researched and every purchase was purposeful and unique. I didn't waste money at a chain store on a gift that meant nothing or on ingredients or craft supplies for homemade goodies that would just be added to a person's pile of gifts. My time isn't being used to rush to finish up my to do list before Christmas. The few times that I have gone into a store this season I am not hurrying to find a gift just so that I can cross another person off of my list, rather I am able to pick up odds and ends here and there to take with us to the orphanages in Ethiopia. That feels a whole lot more meaningful than purchasing yet another toy to add to my children's' already seemingly endless mountain of toys.


I feel as if God has been so busy chiseling away at my life this year. Chipping out huge parts of me that clings to materialism and all of the lies I have swallowed regarding the American Dream. It would seem as if I would feel good over the changes He is orchestrating. However, in actuality the more He chips away at me, the more inadequate I feel, and the more faults and weaknesses are revealed in me. It keeps me at His feet, though, begging Him to do more, to not give up on this wretch.

My five year old is teaching me. On Sunday evening, Jim and I were sitting on the couch in the living room carrying on our own conversation. Unsolicited, Cadi comes to us and announces I have decided that I am okay with not getting any gifts on Christmas morning. I would rather that money be given to children and people who have no money. To say I was shocked was an understatement. She amazes me, and it really has little to do with anything Jim or I have done. It's all Jesus. If only my heart had been so tender at the age of five. God is going to do big things through my girl. I pray she does truly hard things for Jesus, and that God would allow me to release her to do those things wherever He calls her.

Ashamedly, Jim and I decided not to follow her wishes this Christmas. Maybe we should. I wrestle with that. After all what am I teaching her if I do not allow her to sacrifice? I feel so inadequate. She is teaching me. At five years old she understands things that I am just now starting to understand. She sees the world differently than I do. She sees the world through Jesus. She is still five and everything that comes with the immaturity of five, and yet she has these tiny bursts of clarity and maturity beyond her years that can only be from God. On Christmas morning, there will only be a few special gifts under the tree for my children. Not a lot. They will all be precious this year like the handmade super hero capes for my little boys lovingly made by a momma raising funds for her adoption, and a beautiful handmade dress for Cadi created by another adopting momma. There will be no trinkets, few if any toys, but for at least this Christmas, there will still be some gifts. I felt the need to sacrifice for my children this year. That is really my gift to them.

Both of my children have taught me what a true gift children are, and what an eternal blessing it is to welcome them into our home.

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea". ~Matthew 18:2-6

It was through a child that God brought salvation to the world. A child was given as the ultimate sacrifice.

And that sacrifice is truly the ultimate, the most precious gift ever given.

Christmas looks different this year through my newly unveiled eyes. It burns a little bit - the brightness, the clarity, and perhaps the tears as I realize how many Christmases went by where I got it all wrong.

My five year old gets it.

And I am trying to get it as well.


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