Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Give unto others this season

Photo Source: World Vision
I was having a huge pity party for myself yesterday. Yes, my range and water heater were no longer usable in the middle of my holiday baking. The new ones are in the house, but not connected yet. I still have no hot water. I  can't do my baking. It's a pain.

As I was heating water in the microwave last night for baths, however, I was reminded how many people in this world don't have any clean water. Let alone hot water. I fixed our supper in the crockpot. How many children don't have food? How many parents cry each time they look at their children because they can't provide food or water for them? Clothes? Blankets? Heat in the winter? Freedom from bugs -- namely mosquitoes -- in warm weather?

And then I was even more convicted this morning as I was drooling over Gluten-Free Girl's ginger-lemon bars and included post about those who have less.

We are blessed. If you have change in your pocket you are wealthier than most of the world. We have so much that we take for granted, and in this season of hustle and bustle and trying to buy gifts, we often forget about those blessings in our stress to make the perfect holiday. Tis the season for giving. Giving to others who are less fortunate.

We try to instill this in our children. We talk about it. We donate to the local food drives, toys to the toy drives, clothes to the clothes drives. We pick out basic necessities and fun things for Operation Christmas Child and have fun wrapping the presents and praying for the children who will receive them. We write to our sponsored child through Compassion International in Rwanda and send her gifts. We also love to purchase a goat, chickens and whatever else we feel led to help with through World Vision at Christmas. The kids love to these things and so do we. But are we really doing good if we do the deeds and then put them in the back of our minds and retreat to our self-absorbed worries?

Will my children really "get" the true spirit of Christmas if they see me do these things and then turn around and fret and cry about not getting my goodies baked when they know there are children who have never tasted a treat? Maybe, maybe not. They might learn more if I was more vocal about my convictions.

Last night I tried to be positive about our situation with them. I turned it into "You get to help me wrap presents now since I can't bake, let's turn on the Christmas music," and "I'm so thankful for microwaves and crockpots!" as I tried to laugh through it. I did remind them that I was thankful for water even if it wasn't hot, because there were people who didn't have any clean water. But it might have been even more effective if I'd pulled them on to the couch to snuggle and said, "You know, it's disappointing that I can't bake right now and we don't have hot water, but let's say a prayer for all those children and people in the world who don't have anything to eat or any water at all."

If you have someone on your list who has everything, consider purchasing a gift for someone else in their name. Local drives provide food, clothing and toys to those in need and there are charities all over that are helping those less fortunate. There are even drives where you can knit blankets for the homeless. Purchasing an animal like a goat for a family through World Vision or a similar animal donation program provides milk for a starving family and they can sell the milk and cheese from it in the market. There are programs that help young girls in slavery. The options are endless. If we all picked something to help with, imagine how many lives could be blessed this season.

Let's try to bless others, and not only bless them with material goods but with our hearts. Let's love them. Pray for them if you pray. And when we start to grumble let's try to count the blessings we do have.

Photo Source: World Vision


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