This Christmas our family is learning to give, and, well, I’m a bit embarrassed to confess, it's not as easy as I thought it would be. I’m a little more OCD than I'd like to admit, I’m a bit more impatience than I thought I was, and I actually like all my worldly American comforts.
You see, this Christmas, my husband and I decided we are not giving each other gifts, and our kids are each getting 1 gift and 1 adventure date coupon. Instead, we are opening our home to a teenager who is an Eastern European orphan, “N” (her name and location are being withheld for privacy & safety reasons). We are partnering with Project 143 to give orphans hope.
In the past we've gone to other parts of the world, this time we are bringing the world to us. We've come to recognize even though our hearts stir us to go into all the world and share the good news of Jesus, our family dynamic is such that we just can't. We already have a child who has a disability requiring adult supervision at all times. Taking him into places with unfamiliar smells, where he is on sensory overload, and can't find a quiet room full of Legos, is too much for him (and me!).
Here’s the thing: my excited, motherly heart tells me to splurge on N this Christmas. I want there to be stacks of presents for her under the tree; I want to take N on a shopping spree at Nordstrom; I want to give her a Pottery Barn bedroom; I want to have a day away at Spa W being pampered from head to toe; I want her to spend a day wandering Powell's Books and buying everything that takes her fancy; I want her to go to school to have friends; I want to teach her to ski, to bike, to ride a horse, and I want her to put her toes in the ocean.
Then I stop myself and remember…all she really needs for Christmas is a family.
What she really needs is hugs every morning, prayers every night, grace throughout the day, boundaries and unconditional love. To know she is loved, and she is accepted. To know the Messiah came 2016 years ago and she can receive the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ who loves her. So we are going to do our best to meet those needs from Dec 20th to Jan 15th, and plant seeds of hope we know will continue throughout her life.
This song by Matthew West truly expresses what we hope to do this year: Give This Christmas Away.