All the presents beneath our Christmas tree are unwrapped. The Christmas turkey has been carved and eaten. The radio has switched off the familiar Christmas carols. A few neighbors have already taken their Christmas decorations down. Yet I find myself clinging to the season.
Can't we have Christmas at least until New Year's Day? Can't we extend the spirit just a little longer? Can we make it last all year long?
As we conclude our "12 Days of Giving" feature, we want to reflect for a moment on what we have learned this year through giving. Our family has been faced with some hard choices this year. We have committed to serving full-time with Christian Friendship Ministries and "remembering Haiti" in everything that we do. Sometimes that has been hard. It's meant sacrificing some of our first-world comforts. It's meant foregoing some of our traditions and treasured time with family and friends.
It's meant facing some of the hard realities that life in Haiti entails. When we come face to face with a hurting world, people living in poverty, crime and brokenness, it can be overwhelming. We may have a deep desire to give but we often don't know where to begin. Sometimes we can feel paralyzed by the vast need.
But we in the United States have been blessed with resources. We have been blessed with opportunities. We have been blessed with more than we need. And we shouldn't feel guilty about it but we should be willing to share. We should consider what we have to give more than what we want.
This Christmas our family still celebrated. We still feasted and exchanged gifts. We cherished the twinkling Christmas lights and the festive music. We gathered together with family and friends who have become family to remember the birth of our Savior.
We also spent time each night praying for our friends in Haiti. Our kids remembered their friends who don't have toys or clothes - or even food this season. We hope over these last 12 days you have remembered too.
Mostly, we want you all to remember that you can make a difference. With just a little sacrifice on your part, on our part, we can fill a hungry tummy. We can provide education. We can help offer up a job. We can empower a young leader. We can love an orphan. We can lift up a widow in distress. We can give hope and a future.
After all, isn't this why the child was born in Bethlehem? Wasn't it all about giving anyway?