Over the last few days, I have given and received some great gifts! I now own a Lisa Leonard necklace with my kiddos names and Amazon gifts cards (times three – so excited!) But, my favorite gift I gave to my children. It wasn’t expensive. I didn’t have to shop for days to find it.
Here’s the letter I gave my kiddos yesterday…
To My Little Ones…
By this time, you’ve unwrapped lots of gifts. Owen got his Perplexus and new games to play. Hannah has new clothes for school and books to read. Owen no longer has to wear too-short shirts to basketball, and Hannah will sleep deeper as she hugs her new Olaf!
I hope you like each gift! There is lots of fun to come, huh?
But, while you sit in the midst of wrapping paper, twinkling lights, new clothes, and board games, I never want you to forget that many others are not sitting among presents in a warm home with laughter all around, eating three meals a day plus snacks.
I can’t tell you why things are as they are. Why we live in this place at this time. Why some have and some don’t. I have no answers to such hard questions. But in the midst of trusting God and His sovereignty, I know we are to be thankful, and we are not to neglect sharing what we have, being generous to others.
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13: 16
Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him. Proverbs 14: 31
Little ones, if there’s just ONE gift I could give you this year – if I could share one prayer over your life – it would this verse from O, Holy Night…
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.
Love one another. First and foremost, this is my hope for you that you would genuinely love each other and others.
His law is love. Remember what we learned about the Ten Commandments? Each of them points to God’s LOVE for us.
His gospel is peace. His gospel: God sent his son, Jesus, to die on a cross for OUR sins. The One who took our wrongs upon his own self has also brought us peace – in our hearts and souls.
The slave is our brother. We are all brothers and sisters trying to live in this world. No one is better than you – or lower than you. Equal.
The cease of oppression becomes our prayer as we pray for our world.
And because of His love, His death for us, His love for all people…we praise His holy name. Never stop giving thanks and praising Jesus for who He is and what He has done (and will do) for us, remembering that if He never ever does one more thing for us – His death for us is MORE than ENOUGH.
And I don’t want to remember this verse from O, Holy Night just at Christmas. I want us to live “God with us” every day….
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. (which means God with us). Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:23
When I went to Nashville to see Ann Voskamp, I chose a child for us to sponsor. I asked for a Honduran child, but they didn’t have one. So, I glanced down at the Central American children on the table…and who did I see?
Nehemias Emmanuel Jimenez Alfaro
Emmanuel – God with us.
See what God did there? A sovereign pairing. As we provide for Emmanuel each month, as we write him letters and learn about his life and his village, we will be reminded of…God with us.
This, little ones, is my favorite gift to you: The gift of giving. Of giving each month to Emmanuel – the little guy in Mexico and your Everlasting Father in Heaven.
I love you very much!
Merry Christmas, Mom
May you be mindful of “God you us” each remaining day of your 2014 and each day of your 2015.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!