Christmas with too much stuff is exhausting and I'm hearing the cries of Momma's and Daddy's everywhere that they are sick of stuff. It seems like this season has taken a turn like I've never seen before.
For me, it all started with a post that there were 63 kids in our local DFCS system who still had not received a sponsor for Christmas. First, that number makes my stomach hurt because there should not be a single child in state care. Second, that number is still astounding when you think about the children who won't receive much, if any, Christmas. As a foster family, we would ensure our children received Christmas, either by sponsor or by our own doing. We provide how ever it takes. If you lined up 63 children, and looked into their eyes, would you be able to tell 63 children they wouldn't receive gifts for Christmas like their peers?
The caseworkers have worked for months to get sponsors for these children. As we were building up to Black Friday, I reached out to see if a child still needed a sponsor. Imagine my jaw dropping completely to the floor when I read the number "63" in my email. I immediately turned to social media. When I checked back with her on Cyber Monday to see if they wanted random toys as fillers, she reported they were down to 26. TWENTY-SIX. While that's a great improvement. That's still a number I don't want to see.
I shared on social media again, that we still needed to help more children. Here are the conversations I've been having...
Minimize. That's what I keep hearing. Families are trying to minimize.
There's too many...
As I graze through my social media accounts, I am completely bombarded with things to buy. Even on my blog the ads are all leading you somewhere to buy something you probably really don't need. Our thoughts are being flooded with every good and decent sale for days and weeks. We "need" that tree, and those lights. We need more decorations and more pretty things. We need to taste more food and drink more energy. We look around and see piles and piles of collections of things that...quite frankly...make me tired just writing about them.
That's a word I'm feeling right now, at the end of November, as we approach the Christmas season.
Even my own children's "Wish Lists" are very small in comparison to past years.
My oldest wants a new computer monitor, my second child wants a dinner at a fancy restaurant with mom, and my third child wants a Rubik's Cube, my toddler wants anything I give him, and the baby wants what the toddler has. My husband just needs a gift card to Southern Tool. I need a minute to breathe.
I really haven't felt like putting up a Christmas tree either. Maybe just the manger will do. We have half an attic of decorations that I feel like I should put on Facebook Market and use the money for a family trip to NYC (that may be exaggerating a bit but maybe not). Still, keeping it clean, simple, and easy sound really good.
Maybe you're not quite feeling the need to hold back... I get it. Some of us are such givers that we will give everything we own to make others feel happy. Giving is such a good thing and I don't think in some circumstances you can ever out give God. However, we have to stop letting the world tell us that we need so many things...that quite simply, we don't. We have to start looking at what we have, be thankful, and figure out how we can share our abundance with others.
No child of God should hunger for sustenance.
No child of God should feel unloved or unwanted.
No child of God should ever feel unworthy or be stripped of their dignity.
I encourage you now, to begin jotting down ways you can help others this Christmas season. Start with a really decent brain dump to make room in your brain for some new inspiration. Start acting on those things you write down and looking for opportunities to help.
If you are on your computer or phone right now, reading this article, you are well off enough to bless the socks off a child, the elderly, a neighbor, a friend, or even a stranger who needs to feel the love of Christ. YOU were created to be blessing to others and YOU are an answer to someone's prayer.
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7