December 15, 2010

Eyes Wide Open

Christmas is tougher this year.

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 them?

Why me?

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?

holy experience


Lisa notes... said...

I ponder this, too, Melissa. I don't always know exactly what to do with the information and the resources I have. May the Lord bless us with clarity...

Michelle DeRusha said...

I agree. Reading Ann's Guatemala stories are incredibly painful. But it's important not to insulate ourselves from that pain, because then complacency prevails.

Your words resonate deeply here today, Melissa.

And your Advent Altar and the way you are using the Jesse Tree concept is brilliant. I love it!

Christin said...

We share the same heart, Melissa. But you know what? Part of our problem is this: we think we do not have enough to give, so we do not give. And a hundred of us feel the same way, and so, we do not give. And a thousand, 10 thousand, a million of us think the same way, and so we don't give. And the world remains just as it is.

Let's do what we can--and let God do the rest. Just like feeding the 5000--God can make it stretch. :) Be encouraged, today, Melissa...what you have to give is enough. said...

So now I'm curious...How come you don't do Christmas Cards?

Joy said...

Yes. I sense God moving in my heart to change how I think about and approach Christmas and my life in general.

Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama said...

I wrote about this very thing today as comforting to know I am not alone!

Bonnie Gray said...

May God continue to bless you in your new discoveries, Melissa. Thanks for sharing this moment from your journey in the jam today!

Melissa said...

God stirs our heart in such a way that we are prompted to give what we have out of the abundance of our hearts. This year was a "hard" year of stripping and stripping some more and yet, know that we have very little, I want to give so much. So I do and by anyone's standards it's pennies but to God it's riches. He sees more than the amount - he sees the heart and that is what is so neat about our precious God!

Melissa_Rae said...

I have been dealing with this same issue. Not just for myself, but I want my children to understand that there are people out there who don't have nearly anything close to what we have. But, I also don't want my kids to feel guilty about what they do have. It's a tight rope walk, for sure.

Sheryl said...

The needs are overwhelming, aren't they? And the questions can be ceaseless. When I lived in Africa I used to wonder why God created me to be white, American, and female. What did/does he expect from me because of it? There aren't easy answers. May the God of all Peace and Comfort show you the answers you need.

Lisa-Jo Baker said...

I've often had the same thoughts, growing up in South Africa and face to face with what the racist system of apartheid perpetrated on my fellow South Africans. And all I know is this - that one cup of water, that one sponsored child, that one family supported - they are what God has given me to do. They are my special area of service in the Kingdom. Christ has assigned others to labor next door to me, others to reach out to all the others. So I must be faithful in what he's set before me. Because this is where I can make a difference.

Blessings to you on the journey!