The months from September to December fly by. They are the best four months of the year for many reasons, but Christmas is definitely one of the big ones as to why I love these months so much. I start thinking about Christmas in September and my decorations are up in October.
As the years have gone by, though, my feelings about Christmas have changed. I still love it of course, but how I go about it has changed. It used to be about presents and how much I could give to my kids. I still enjoy giving gifts and love the looks on their faces when they get something they really wanted. But there is more now. Now, there is a sense of just being together that is so important to me. With two kids gone at colleges in opposite directions the majority of the year, I love to just have everyone home and together again. I focus on what our menus are going to be for Christmas Eve Eve, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. I want to make sure we have family time aorund the table.
Last night, Christmas Eve, as I was putting our dinner of glazed spiral ham, rice, jello, rustic Italian bread, and corn on the table, I was feeling a little down. That morning we had ventured to a kitchen store in Uptown Minneapolis and I had seen many very nice things that I wanted for my kitchen. I was feeling sorry for myself that I had no money to buy some of these things. As I lamented some about this, my son said something that has haunted me since hearing it. "Well, my friends on Wacker Ave have been hoarding granola bars for weeks so they could have them for Christmas dinner." Ouch. My son lives in Chicago and the friends he was referring to are homeless people who he has gotten to know through ministry. They live in the parking ramp on that street. My heart broke the more I thought about what he had said. No one should have to eat just granola bars for dinner ever, let alone on Christmas. As I thought and thought about this, I realized how blessed I really am. I also realized how much I have lived for myself. I want to make a difference somehow. I know I am only one person and sometimes it seems senseless to even try to do something, but then I think of Mary Jo Copeland and what she started as just one person.
My prayer for the new year is that somehow God would show me how I can make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate than myself. I have no investment funds to start something but certainly have a willingness to be used by God to do something. God, please show me what it is you want me to do with my life that will serve those you love.