Christmas? Presents or Presence
As I sit thinking about writing this blog entry my emotions run high. Thoughts run trough my head like I’ll offend someone or hurt someone’s feelings. And every time I tried to write it my way God would redirect the words to say what the Holy Spirit wanted me to say. So I’ll just speak from the heart and hope people will understand. The Christmas Season has just ended and while it’s one of the happiest seasons in the Western world, it has become something that it was never intended to be. Please hear my heart, I love Christmas time just as much as anyone else however, my perspective has changed over the past two years. I still love the giving gifts part of Christmas because after all that’s what God gave us the greatest gift of all, His son. As I look around in the mall I see people trying to fit into the Western culture; Black Friday sales, Christmas decorations, blinking lights, people rushing around and even Christmas music. That was my one of my favorite parts Christmas music and it was even in English, I must tell you I would go to the mall just to walk around and here the music. Outside the walls of Chisinau however, most kids have never celebrated Christmas. And I’ve never really thought about it until my 6 year old ask, “mom why will Santa not visit my friends in the village?” You see we still do Santa but the kids know that we must pay for the gifts they don’t just magically show up on Christmas Day. This began a great family conversation that ended with the kids deciding to be Christmas elves for some of their very special friends. Then 3 days before Christmas we had the honor of being on the opposite side of the Samaritan’s Purse Christmas Shoebox project. I can remember how exciting it was in years past to pack a shoebox, gathering to pray over those boxes and then sending them out for their great adventure. The joy is incomparable to the joy of seeing a kid open the box and be overwhelmed with all the small gifts they normally never have. Or to sit and hear stories two weeks later about how the kids are still talking about things they had in their shoeboxes. Then to hear my 12 year old say ” wow, I never knew you could feel this way.” Then asking Michael what do you mean, tell me what your feeling, and his response “I don’t know mom, it’s this unexplainable feeling, and I’ve never felt this way before.” What joy it brings a mom’s heart to see your kids actually get it! This is what Christmas is all about! As we returned home from church on Christmas morning I opened up Facebook to see everyone celebrating Christmas, and this hard knot began to swell inside my chest. Post after post was a worry or wonder if what Santa left would be enough, as I looked at what Santa had left I thought how could it not be, look at all the stuff. And my mind slowly drifted back to the village where the only gifts givin were those that could fit in a shoebox. What would kids in the Western world say if they only got a shoebox? Would it be enough? Then as I struggled with the answer probably not, not even for my kids, I prayed that God would continue to open my eyes and the eyes of the Western world to not always focus on the presents but His presence at Christmas and though the year.