It’s been a week of holiday challenges around here… First of all we still cannot find baby Jesus. He went missing last year and we still cannot find him in any of the Christmas totes. The nativity we received as a wedding gift does not exactly look the same and I am still trying to decide what a missing baby Jesus figure means. Next came the Christmas card drama. The card arrived with a typo. For real? It was a tough one to create as the wee little text box was giving me fits, but I was certain we had not spelled anything wrong when I hit send. I called to ask about a redo and the nicest man agreed with the text box issue and asked if he could redo them for me. Wasting all the cards seemed ridiculous so I agreed to only 50. Two days later the new cards arrived and as I was sliding them into their respective envelopes, I realized I should take a look and much to my dismay the cards were reprinted with the same typo. Now what is that supposed to mean? Please do not answer that. I’ll bet I already know what you are thinking.
Then the big fun… Last Thursday night I could not fall asleep. So much was whirling and frankly it is another long blog post, but we received the most amazing letter from the child we have sponsored for two years in Ethiopia and I could not stop thinking about what is next for him and for us. I was sitting on the couch in a silent house and began to hear a trickle that sounded a bit like rain. It took a few minutes and then it dawned on me… The sound was coming from our Christmas tree. The tree was raining needles… I panicked at first and then realized I was so tired it would need to wait until the next day. The mess was astounding and we are still being poked by embedded needles. Four hours of cleanup is perhaps an understatement and the tree farm had two similar calls from people explaining that their tree also needed to be removed because it was totally dead in just two weeks. Can you say fire hazard? Ava ran all over finding great fun in flinging all the ornaments everywhere but as joyful as she was the frustration in our house was palpable. As it turns out we had a blast spending our Friday night shopping the many cheesy trees, both real and artificial still available this late in the season. We went for the artificial tree and with all the messes I clean daily, I am happy to report pine needles will not be one of them. The dead tree laid out on our front lawn causing quite a clatter and by today I can actually laugh about the whole experience.
I laugh because it is all so insignificant when it comes to the true value and meaning of Christmas. Such things matter so much less for me than they used to and now instead of feeling the need to have the picture perfect tree and the accurate card, I find myself letting those challenges go so much more quickly so that I can fill my cup with the work of raising my children and educating and encouraging others about the children of Chapa in Ethiopia. This Christmas I am so grateful for each of you who have stepped up and stepped out to make a commitment to the children at Chapa through the Children’s Hopechest Sponsorship Program. In knowing what I now know about what children throughout the world endure, I cannot help but be stirred to share their stories and to encourage others to come alongside to make a difference in the life of a child. We can all change the life for one.
In Ethiopia they do not celebrate Christmas until January, but your sponsored child would certainly love to hear from you this week to learn all about your Christmas traditions. Take that time to sit with your children and muttle through the first letter online. Let perfection go and instead just be who you are, speaking from the heart. Tell your child a story or type out the words to a poem or a prayer. I have watched the glow of little faces when they light up from reading letters and seeing pictures of their sponsor family. It is a meaningful moment and one God orchestrates so well in bringing us together. Very soon our February team will be in trip prep mode and we will be providing you with details on sending a care packge to your child. They will need to be very specific in size but it is never to early to begin printing your favorite photos and getting thoughts on paper.
So with only a few days left before we celebrate the birth of a precious child, I am reaching out to each of you with a heart filled with thanks. I could not do this alone but as a community we are changing little lives.. You are changing their stories and bringing hope to the hopeless and love to those who many never feel security and love. That is what Christmas is all about and as I am typing I am thinking that a missing baby Jesus is only missing from my living room shelf but not from my heart and not from yours this holiday season. The vacant shelf, the typo and yes even the ugly dead tree… those details do not matter. Thank you for the gift you have given so generously. Just you wait until I meet your child and spend time sharing with he or she about who each and every one of you are! Each child will know what a git he or she has been given in their relationship with you.
Please let me know if you have sponsorship questions. As a family we would love to know how you are feeling about sponsorship. Have you witten that first letter? Details will soon follow on the care packages I am hoping we can create before my trip to meet and love on all the Chapa kids. Spots for the trip are still available…
Peace and Blessings this joyful season,