This is the Tradition Year for us as a family. We now have a three year old who is very aware of his surroundings and delights in tradition and routine, which makes me think. Any traditions and practices that we start now will always be "normal" to him. Do you ever have the desire to redefine "normal"? What if our traditions reflected less of our culture and more of Christ? What if our family life and routines were so distinctively different that we radiated the love of Christ to all who came into our home or met our children? What if we become radically in love with the things God loves and use our time, energy, and resources for the Kingdom? What if....
What if my children love others more than things and learn to start browsing the Compassion and World Vision gift catalogs in November so they can choose what they give on Christmas morning to children in poverty? What if the department store catalogs made my children sad rather than greedy? What if my husband and I forgo what we would normally do for our children and instead bless others in their names? Pretty sure someone out there is yelling that I'm sucking all the fun out of Christmas. But what is Christmas? The celebration of the Greatest Gift. We've been given freedom, salvation, sonship, power, grace, mercy, justification, redemption, eternity! Our response: give as it has been given to you.
True religion is this: to care for widows and orphans in their distress.
Be kind and compassionate to one another.
Bear one another's burdens.
Love one another as I have loved you.
If I lived as Christ commands me to, how would our family celebrate Christmas? What would we give to others? What would we give to one another? How would we explain the lights, decorations and hype to our children? And what traditions will we begin right now?
Today, Caleb and I (and Ben wanted to see too) went to Compassion International's catalog and chose Christmas presents that he thought that we should give in loved ones' names to children in poverty. Man, that kid is generous with our money. Humbling. Because he knows that if we don't share what God gives us, we lose it. And he believes that with all his three-year-old heart.
Gifts of Compassion - Heath Family Testimony from Compassion International on Vimeo.
Compassion uses donor's gifts of clean water, cows, chickens, vaccinations, birthing attendants, or formula to feed a sweet babe to meet the needs of the poorest of the poor. In return, you can print, email, or mail a card to the person you are making the gift on behalf of.
I cried when I read the information about feeding an infant for a month. It costs $20. Now $20 in our single-income family is a pretty big deal, but to some mothers who are HIV positive and cannot breastfeed, cannot afford to keep their precious gift alive, it is life and breath. It is minutes in their child's life.
And all I can see is this.
And He's broken my heart again.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in....I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me. Matthew 25:35, 40
I hope if you're reading this, you're a friend who knows that I'm sharing my journey, not judging yours. And of all sinners, I'm the one wearing the neon pink "Boy, am I a mess" T-shirt. But a blog is a platform to allow others to walk alongside us a we grow. And maybe, just maybe, it's a way to get the word out. That one more child can be fed. That one more child can be healthy. That one more child can hear the Gospel of Christ. 'Nuf said. And thanks for reading.