Thursday, December 23, 2010

How will you spend your Christmas?

Christmas Eve!!!.... Wow! Already? Christmas snuck up on me so quickly and silently this year. But ready or not (and ready, we'll be), it'll erupt our morning in less than 16 hours. And it'll be gone before we'll want it to be. How very quickly it comes... and how very fast it travels!

I find myself in a different place this Christmas from all the years past. My days of being enthralled with the beauty and decor of the season perhaps have left? Or rather, it's not the same as it has been. I see beauty a bit differently. At least for this year.

You cannot even begin to know how I used to light up my home. Every nook and cranny had festivities (ornaments! lights!) of some sort or some kind hanging or poked into its corner or ceiling. I have collected Santas since we've been married, so I have a whole attic full that I failed to bring down this year. My days readying for the moment have been too full..... and wonderfully less self-centered than any year prior to our this one. I've learned that when you're wrapped up in self that you mostly don't realize you are. I don't know that you mean to be. It's just that your eyes have failed to look up and look further out to take time to see any others that aren't in your immediate world. You don't mean not to notice them, you just don't.

The pictures above are pictures of our trees in past seasons. We usually get them 15 to 18 feet tall. Beautiful trees, for sure! And I must say that I have taken great pleasure in each one of them.

This year's tree is a little bit smaller :) Tiny to be exact. Literally less than two hands high in measurement (I know. I measured it!). It may be small, it may be teeny, but it couldn't be more perfect. In years past I've always bought real ones, we've never conformed to the artificial, and always huge and flocked, paying way too much for them. That being so, and feeling too guilty this year to invest in such cost for a frivolous moment, we pulled a small tree out that we used to sit on a table. We had to place it on a small child's rocking chair in order to help it appear taller and bigger. :) My youngest daughter decorated it for us. She didn't work too hard, but she did a good job!

We did buy a tree this year (a 7 footer), but didn't keep it. We loaded it up to take to a girl that was recently released from prison. She's hoping to have her little 10 year old boy in time for Santa! The tree is decorated with donated lights and ornaments from people with very kind hearts. There have been a whole army of hands trying to ready her apartment from its emptiness to ready for her son. How priceless is that to end our 2010 year with? It's been such fun! So exciting! Such a pleasure! She told me, "It's full and it's beautiful!"

And it is!

Here is the picture she sent me:
Seeing her tree made me want to cry. It represents more than anyone can know. It's not only a gift from our family to hers, but it's a gift from my Father to me!

Back to finding myself in a different season. I am in the midst of a different world than I have ever found myself in. I am recently usually either in the prisons with the incarcerated or with those that have recently gotten out that mostly find themselves left with nothing. Or. I am with the homeless, who don't even have a place of covering to lay their heads, that are grateful for whatever it is that you'll give them and also very thankful for the time you'll spend.

I went to Taco Bell the other day with my youngest daughter and her friend. We had just picked up a man from the Salvation Army that had been homeless for 8 months and put him on a bus to see his mom (that he hasn't seen since he was 13... he's now 47) in California. From there we went to the Thrift Store to buy some things for another lady. Then, we went to the drive-thru at Wendy's to get another daughter some fast food. Wildly, I kept thinking and feeling guilty for the money we had just spent at the two fast food restaurants. I kept thinking of how far the homeless could extend that money to go for used shoes or shirts or food or blankets. I am more conscious of and spend more carefully than I used to. I'm so ashamed of how I used to spend.

I want to give more than I want to get. And I want to invest into the lives of others, not just my own or my loved ones who already have so much. I keep thinking and keep wondering where it is that I am spending my life? How am I spending my Christmas? Where am I spending my years?
Ah, the stories I could tell.... I am so thankful for my Lord!


  1. Sharon, this is very inspiring! God is doing something in hearts to make us see the world as He sees it. My Christmas was much like others - maybe somewhat less extravagant - but in my heart I have been sensing some of the things you speak of here. We have so much - others have nothing; ashamed of spending money on frivolities.

  2. Frivolities? I don't know that that's always so. It's such fun to spend. To gift. Extravagance in giving and gifting is its own investment. I just don't want it given in vain anymore. I don't want it wasted. I don't want to spoil or ruin. I love to see the joy on a loved ones face... But as I alluded to in this post, I've been introduced to a whole new world. And gifting and giving now has a whole other meaning. Gifts aren't always now packaged so beautifully wrapped, the beauty comes in the eyes that behold it. The hands that so graciously and gratefully hold it. The heart that is quickened and tendered because of its need of it.... not because someone just liked the thing well, thought that they'd like to have it, or wanted it.... but because it was a necessity that too long has been lived without.

    Yes, Karen, God is doing something in hearts. I told a guy yesterday that I work with that God was raising an awareness like never before... and with it an army. People really do want to spend their lives on something real, something worthy, something really worthwhile, something everlasting that long outlives themselves. Not for their glory, but for God's. We're made to give rather than get. We're made to serve sacrificially. It so very much feels good... it feels right to! We're made in God's imagine.... and His imagine can't help but to.

    God still has a long way of work to do on me. But I love His effort, His persistence, His wooing and moving and sometimes pushing. I tell Him consistently, "Open my eyes, Lord, I want to see." Because I know in my blindness that I stay so selfish. May He continue until He moves me to be His hands, His help, His mouth, and His feet!

    Love seeing you here, Karen! Your comments are always encouraging and inspiring.