December 13, 2009

12 days- A Million Ways

I am really struggling with Christmas this year. Not the trees, or the lights, or the baking or the songs. It's the stuff. Every day people are calling asking about what to get the kids for Christmas. And I never know what to say. There is nothing they need. And while I love shopping for my kids and planning out the Santa stuff, I am having a hard time wrapping my brain around the commercialism. Don't get me wrong- I get a terrible case of the gimme's when I walk up and down the aisles of that fantastic red bullseye store. And everytime I see the commercials for Wii's, I picture our family having a blast playing with it and I put it on my wish list. But, while I have a child thousands of miles away who has NOTHING, it all just seems so meaningless. I have such bad guilt. Every time I make a purchase, I think- wow... do you know how many hungry kids that money could feed? Or I go to the electronics section and get mad that there are still parts of the world with no electricity.

A year ago- I didn't even know where the Congo was on a map. And while I was always mindful that there are sick and starving people all over the world, it never affected my day to day life. But this adoption journey has opened my eyes to so many things. I've learned and seen things that have changed me to my very core. And now that I am aware, I'm just not really sure what to do with it all. I keep wondering what it says about me that there are material things I'd love to have, knowing full well the hurt and the poverty that exists in the world. I feel so divided in my heart that I want to shower Sadie and Noah with things, while Miles will be spending Christmas in the orphanage just like it is any other day. I feel conflicted. I feel helpless.

So while I figure there is nothing I can do to stop the commercialism of Christmas ( heck- I can't even stop in my own home!) there are a million different things that I can do to bring some balance to the season. In our home today starts day 1 of the 12 days of Christmas kindness. I've seen this idea on a few other blogs (so I can in no way take credit for the idea). The premise is that on each of the 12 days before Christmas, our family will participate in a random act of kindness. I have lots of things planned and will try to share every day what special thing we do. Nope- we're not saints- Santa better still stop at this house! But this is my way of making sure that my children have an intentional way of focusing on the meaning of Christmas. It would seem so hypocritical to tell them that Jesus is the reason for Christmas, without doing anything to be His hands and feet in our community.

So for the 1st day of Christmas Kindness we collected all of our outgrown and unworn winter coats to donate to our local mission. Sadie is already chomping at the bit to do tomorrow's activity! So maybe this can be our new Christmas tradition- and when my kids grow up, they'll remember that THIS is what having the spirit of Christmas is all about.

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