I have struggled this month to find time to sit down and take a few minutes to blog. I do not like the busyness that I am in the midst of right now but am slowly learning how to let things go that do not have importance.
With Christmas just a few weeks away, I am reflecting on the Christmas traditions we had with our children. I always wanted our kids to understand that Christmas was not what the world had made it. It was the Birthday of our King. We always baked a Birthday cake for Jesus. It was a sweet reminder of what the day actually was all about. I wonder if we could begin to give gifts that matter to Christ. If our Christmas season would feel a little more special or meaningful. We continue the traditions of giving gifts to family which can be stressful financially and mentally but what if we began to give gifts of time, baked goods, child care for a young couple? I believe this is the heart of God and our willingness to do for others will not only bless us and them but Christ as well. When my kids were young, the Birthday Cake was a symbol of our love for Jesus but today maybe we need to love others more and allow that to be our gift. The Greatest Christmas Ever is a small book with fun ideas, recipes and old Christmas traditions my mom gave me 22 years ago. I love to get it out and read it each season. One of the stories in the book is about an African boy that listened carefully as his teacher explained why it is that Christians give presents to each other on Christmas day. "The gift is an expression of our joy over the birth of Jesus and our friendship for each other", she said. When Christmas day came, the boy brought the teacher a sea shell of lustrous beauty. "Where did you ever find such a beautiful shell?" the teacher asked. The boy told her that there was only one spot where such extraordinary shells could be found. When he named the place, a certain bay several miles away, the teacher was left speechless. "Why...why, it's gorgeous...wonderful, but you shouldn't have gone all that way to get a gift for me." His eyes brightening, the boy answered, "Long walk part of gift." In a world full of gift ideas, easy access to overnight deliveries, craft shows, and Black Friday sales, our time is still the most precious thing we can give to one another. My daughter met a sweet lady at one of our events several years ago. She mistakenly thought our event was a yard sale. She had walked up the street to see us, living in an elderly facility down the street. Gentry talked with her, shared who Village to Village was, and gave her a treat to take home. She went home and came back shortly with $1 to donate to our ministry! Her heart was huge. She didn't have much but wanted to share what she could.
That began a friendship that lasted several years. Every time Gentry was in town we would head over to see Ms. Kathleen. She would gather up things for our nonprofit, look at pictures from our trips, share stories of her own, and always remembered our names. Just a few weeks ago, Ms. Kathleen went to be with Jesus and I'm sure she is loving spending time with her family in Heaven. It's been a great reminder of the time we spent with her, how it changed us, and what it meant to her and to our Lord. My prayer for you this season is to slow down enough to spend quality time with your family, friends, and someone that may be very lonely over the Christmas Season. It's not hard to find someone in your neighborhood, at the elderly home, at a soup kitchen, or in your child's classroom that simply needs a little time, a homemade cookie, or a ride to their doctor's appointment. It will change your view of the season. It will bring hope to someone who needs it. It will bring joy to the heart of God.