I cannot believe it...but, I did not take one single picture on Christmas day! This Christmas season has been a strange one. I have struggled to be totally engaged in things here since I returned from Africa. Things just don't seem right. Christmas was especially weird. We skyped with Mom and the kids a couple of times and all of our extended family got to see the kids and tell them "Merry Christmas". It was good...but, every time we see them, it makes my heart ache more for them to with us. The boys are feeling it too. Ethan has periodically let out a frustrated, "UGGGHHH....I just want them to be here!". It is a good opportunity for us all to learn to trust God's timing and to be patient.
Still, the boys and I have had a good time this month. We made some salt/flour/cinnamon ornaments. The love making these. We also made some dried cinnamon oranges. Our house smelled so good and we made some precious memories.
On the Sunday before Christmas, we took part in Water Angels' Christmas service. It's always so neat. The people seem more grateful than usual and more peaceful. Stephanie, at Water Angels, pours her whole heart out into these people. The kids all received arms full of toys, a good meal, and they had the Gospel shared with them. Everyone also received a new pair of shoes.
Some shared their testimonies.
This little girl stole my heart and made me think. Can you imagine your children living on the streets? Sleeping in a shelter if possible. Finding food for your kids wherever you can? I thought about how I'm concerned about what my kids wear....how they're dressed and how they look. I think I may be a little too concerned with that sometimes when there are kids all over feeling the pangs of hunger, wearing clothes that don't fit, haven't bathed or brushed their teeth, and don't have a bed to sleep in. Not to mention all of the innocent children that will die today from starvation or water borne illnesses.
I really struggled this year with Christmas. We tell our kids...and ourselves...that its all about Jesus. Yet, our kids make out their lists and expect to get everything or a good portion of the stuff. We have to clean out all of the excess toys to make room for the new excess. I love to give my kids gifts! But, as I've tried to make this REALLY, REALLY about HIM....I have felt convicted that He would not want me to waste so much on such unnecessary stuff. Toys that will be lost, forgotten about, broken in no time. And then added to the heap before next Christmas to make room for the new. We've used the excuse....for Jesus' birthday...we give gifts to each other. I feel so ashamed of saying that now. It goes so against how Christ lived and what He taught. Do I really think He cares if my kids get new video games, trucks, movies, etc...when there are kids going without food and water?
We did not get our kids or each other one single gift this year. I knew it was what we were supposed to do...but, honestly...I still wanted to go splurge on my kids. I was a little sad. But, it's about Him, right?
I want to honor Christ. I don't want our society to be my standard. I want what Christ preached to be what I measure myself up to...otherwise, it's watered down and it's about me.