Thursday, December 8, 2011

Pondering the Season

I walked the aisles trying not to cry.  The cart was mounting up with many meaningful things and a few not.  I wanted so desperately to choose the right gift for each person instead of just grabbing the first thing I saw.  It took so much patience when I was hot and my feet were pounding and I was invisible to others with carts and my time was limited. 
 I distinctly remember the evening, not too long ago, when the boys each picked out a gift to give from the Samaritan's Purse catalog.  We read through each possible gift, hoping that those under our tutelage would start to grasp how blessed we are.

{To simply have clean water.}
 One chose the gift of hot meals.  Another selected sheep.  A third, but not the third, chose life saving food.  Eric made a selection and then I.  It was one of the most joyous moments all year.  Giving.  Perhaps not to the poor, perhaps calling them poor demeans them somehow.  Giving instead to beautiful caricatures of a Holy God.
 We fed another.  We fed Christ.  (Mt. 25:35a)  But, we were the ones truly fed.
 And, so as I walked the aisles, I tried not to cry.  Because now I knew that my CD purchase for another was the exact cost of allowing someone to have emergency shelter.  Now I knew that my shirt purchase for another was the exact cost of helping to provide clean water for a thirsty community.  Now I knew that my chick-fil-a lunch would feed a child milk for a full week.

I was angry and bitter at our culture and I didn't even know how to proceed in joy while I shopped for those I love.
Perhaps I don't have all the answers, but I think there has to be balance.  Jesus whispered that it is ok to be generous with those you love.  Whether it is at Christmas or another time, it is alright to show others you love them by selecting gifts for them that you know they will cherish or enjoy.

Buying a sheep for the impoverished or buying a scarf for a friend.

I think it is ok to be generous to all those stamped with the Maker's image.

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