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Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Best Christmas I've ever had

The following beautiful post is from Nicole Jeannette at Sounds of Laughter, Shades of Life:

Beloved boyfriend gave me my first Christmas present last night (ridiculously early, I know, but he enjoys giving me presents and I don't hate receiving them!) It was just a cute small, little thing, but it got us talking about what we really want for Christmas and I think it's pretty cool so I wanted to share in hopes that you may adopt a similar idea.

Last year was probably the best Christmas I've ever hadbecause I asked that friends and family members give me a certain type of gift and MAN did I hit the mother load. Through the wonderful World Vision Gifts program and the gifts of wonderful people around me, I was able to giveshelter to sexually exploited girls in Asia, education for a whole year for anorphan, a flock of ducks to a family in India and food and HIV/AIDS medicationsto starving and sick children in Africa. 

If you ask me, that's a lot better than a Kate Spade bag. As much as I wanted one (among other more practical things), it would never make me cry tears of joythe way my World Vision gifts did last year.

So this year, J. L. and I have been interacting with the local homeless community a lot and we LOVE it.  If you ever want to look at the face ofJesus, just go downtown. He's there. He's dirty and smelly and stuggling to keep warm, but He's there--He's everywhere.

This year has been particularly difficult on our local homeless community after the flood destroyed Tent City (a local community of tent-dwelling homeless who gathered there for fellowship and protection) and the incredibly unpredictable weather has made finding shelter a little harder than usual. So we wanted to figure out what we could do to love on them other than cash handouts and/or beefing up our volunteer efforts.

So here's what we've decided:

We're going to make "kits" and hand them out to homeless. We thought we'd include the following items to try to help little that we can:

  • "Hotties" -- you know those little hand/pocket warmers? They're really inexpensive when you buy them in bulk and they last for about 8 hours. I realize that this isn't a huge source of heat, but it's something.
  • Space Blanket -- If you've ever been hiking or camping you're familiar with these. 
  • Socks -- I never thought about this until I started actually talking to a lot of homeless people, but can you imagine wearing the same socks everyday for weeks/months on end? You have no idea how excited they get about clean socks. 
  • Crackers or some other snack
  • An encouraging card
We're hoping to make about 20 or so of these and take the money we would have used on nicer Christmas presents on this. 

I once spent the night out on the concrete for a homlessness awareness activity. It is miserable.
My experience with the homeless community has been completely positive and I have really learned that often the largest difference between them and us is just one paycheck. They're good, beautiful people who just need a little bit of help getting back on their feet. When you talk to them SMILE at them, shake their hands, introduce yourself and ask them their names. They're literally treated like garbage and you have no idea what your kindness means. 

For those of us who follow Christ, I want to encourage you to not be afraid to actively show others that you're not celebrating the season for the commercial part (not that you're not allowed to, I love Christmas), but to celebrate the birth and love of a Savior who died so that you may have eternal life and eternal love. We need to SHOW that love. Not that you should brag or do it for recognition, but maybe give your friends a card that says "In Lieu of a Christmas Gift: I helped build a well in Africa/fed a homeless family/etc. God bless you this Christmas and may the Spirit of love and giving warm your heart." Very few people are selfish enough to throw a fit about you "sacrificing" their gift for someone who really needs it 

Remember, in the end you get what you give--no matter how big or how little.

Is there anything you've done that you're hoping will catch on as a Christmas gift for those who need it? I'd love to hear about them!

"The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'" - Matthew 25:40

1 comment:

Sabina said...

What a wonderful post!♥