Not because there are fewer presents. There are still plenty.
Not because there are fewer decorations. The ones scattered among our home are the most meaningful.
Not because I didn't send Christmas cards. I stopped doing that years ago.
And not because the calendar is too full. Although, honestly, it's more full than I would like and I'm already committing that next year will be different.
Christmas is tougher because I've been reading about Katie's work in Uganda, watching Eric's video about our Depraved Indifference, thumbing through the Samaritan's Purse catalog, and thinking about all the Compassion children who need sponsors. Feed the World comes on the radio, and I listen intently to the words -think of the children they're about - instead of trying to remember which popular singers took part in the Band Aid project.
I want to reach out to them. Give until it hurts. But my little drop in the bucket is just that. The truth is, no matter what I give, someone will still be hungry. Someone will still be homeless. Someone will die from a curable disease or lack of clean water. Someone will still need Christ.
The need is overwhelming to me. At times it crushes my chest so that I can barely breathe. Tears well up and rain down my cheeks. I don't understand.
Why do I get to sit on my sofa and look at these images through the veil of a laptop screen?
Why do I get to put them out of sight and move on to the next thing?
Why did you open my eyes to this hurt, Lord?
And then I realize that, painful as it is, I do not want to go back. After the nativities are nestled safely in storage containers and the Christmas tree is boxed up for another year, I do not want to return to the world of comfortable oblivion. I want to keep walking toward my Savior, loving others as He instructs me to love them. To give from the ridiculous abundance I have been given.
The message of Christmas doesn't belong packed away with the decorations. It must be lived out every day of the year.
I ponder what that means for my family, pray for guidance and wisdom. Will you join me?