How is your Christmas shopping going?
It's only the 5th of December, but some have already received their gifts. In full.
Yesterday we went to an orphanage. Thanks to the organization of many in our small group, and the generosity of the entire church community, we gave the 140 children their Christmas box.
In contrast, my four boys receive gifts from grandparents, great grandparents, aunts & uncles, brothers... The children at the orphanage have no such lineage.
They wait. They hope. That perhaps the Christmas story meant something to someone. That when God gave his son, his love in the form of a baby, that it might speak to us in a way that drives us to give to others. And orphans are at the 'top' of God's list. That is clear:
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress..." James 2:1a
"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling." Psalm 68:5
These boxes contained toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, nail clippers, socks, a t-shirt...hopefully a little bangle or a toy car. The entire box was filled for about $15.
And they were thrilled.
Which made me examine my list. Because we are in Jakarta, all family members have put money in our bank account, and I am (happily) spending hours traveling to various places to tick off my (long) list for everyone.
I'm spending more than $15.
God gave at Enormous Cost. Huge Sacrifice. With Overwhelming Love. A little baby. His Son. Who came to live, die and be raised to life so that we would have the rest of eternity to look forward to as His children! No one, who chooses him, will be fatherless.
My efforts at giving "in the Christmas spirit" are pathetic. Seriously. What about yours? Because that $15 box is a lot closer to what God had in mind. And giving money to charity, buying cards from charity, whilst certainly good, are not particularly sacrificial. Don't you think?
"And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." Hebrews 13:16
Maybe giving to orphans, literally, is not an available option where you live. But I have no doubt there is someone in your community - at a centre, a hospital, a nearby single mum, a widow, the homeless - there is someone you could be reaching out to. In a way that moves beyond something that makes us feel good. To something that might cost time, money, effort. Perhaps something you don't really want to do - there's that sacrifice again - and really give.
Re-order your list.
Put them at the top.
I'd love to hear about what you do.
- 140 filled boxes.
- 140 grateful children.
- A God who loves. And tells us to love. Even showing us how.
- Gorgeous singing, and amazing music.
- Mei Tan - an amazing lady, who gives to these children nearly every day. Sacrificially.
- Opportunities for my boys to see so many with so little.
- The gift of a baby.
- Christmas tree up. Joy in a room.
- Aqua birds. From a beautiful friend in Australia. Telling us we are remembered and loved.
- My little barista. Oh the gift of having a nine year old in the family producing coffees!