The holiday season brings a lot of hustle and bustle. Everyone scrambling to get the gifts on their shopping list to make this Christmas even better than last. Our culture has really taken the “meaning of Christmas” to a whole new level. It’s not about spending time with family or even the birth of our Savior. It’s turned into a “give me” holiday. I’m not opposed to gift giving, in fact, I love it. Seeing the smile on each face as they open a gift is why I love giving gifts. But, even throughout all the gift giving, my favorite part of the holiday is the Christmas Eve service and spending time with family.
Thinking about gift giving, how much people spend on the holiday season and the family that I get to spend the holidays with, has my mind wandering to all those people in the world who don’t. Who don’t have money to spend on gifts or those who don’t have a family to spend the holidays with. My heart breaks. I can’t imagine a holiday where I don’t get to see my family. I haven’t had to worry about not being able to get someone a gift. There’s people in this world who aren’t as blessed as I am and how many of us take that for granted?
My husband and I sponsor a 5 year bold who lives in Peru. The money we send him, helps buy him food, clothes, an education and a place to learn about Jesus. We love receiving letters from him and pictures he has drawn. Finding out more about what he likes, more about his family and finding out just how much more we can love a little boy we have never met. We found love in a hopeless place. This little boy lives with far less than we do. He is blessed to be apart of an organization that can help him and others find people like my husband and I who want to see this little boy grow up with more. My thoughts drift to him often this holiday season. His father doesn’t have steady work and therefore they don’t have a Christmas like we do. They don’t get the opportunity to have dozens of presents under a Christmas tree. The organization doesn’t allow for us to send actual presents, but we sent money for them to buy him a present from us and I wonder if that will be his only present.
In our world, Christmas wouldn’t be the same without with presents, because that is what we have grown up with. We know that every Christmas morning there will be presents waiting for us under the tree and in a stocking. In his world, that is probably not a reality. But let’s think about how much more real his Christmas is. They probably get to really celebrate the real meaning of Christmas. They are learning about Jesus throughout the organization and they get to spend quality time with family without worrying about what did someone do for me. How selfless is that?! Thinking about him this holiday season, really makes me want to reconsider our holidays. That instead of spending all this money on Christmas presents, to really focus on how the real meaning of Christmas. Our sponsored child helped us to find love in a hopeless place. To really find love. Not only the love that we have for him, but to show those around us how much we love them and to realize how blessed we are.
Let’s go back to the very first Christmas. Jesus was lying in a manager. Mary, Joseph and all the stable animals around him. Shepherds and Wise Men following a star all the way to Bethlehem. It wasn’t anything extravagant. It was simple. A baby lying in the manager to give us the greatest and most undeserving gift. We all know the story and that story is what the real meaning of Christmas is. Not about how many presents are under the tree because love, family and the birth of Jesus are the greatest gifts of all.