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Monday, December 8, 2008

Giving Christmas

Our home is surrounded by giant Texas pine trees.

They are beautiful.

And they are messy.

Millions of pine needles blanket the ground this time of year. It's really pointless to sweep them away because a gust of wind will only bring more.

But every couple of weeks (when I can't see the ground or driveway), I start to feel claustrophobic (!) and my hubby tackles the big job. I sent my two older kids out to help him rake and bag the pine needles.

It was a time consuming job and just as they were packing up the yard tools, my six year old son said, "Hey, Dad, can you leave the big rake out? I want to do Mr. Rocky's yard," he said and pointed to our next door neighbor's yard scattered with countless needles.

"Are you sure? It's a big job and Mom has a snack inside. You don't have to do it," my hubby said.

"I want to give to them," and that was enough. My hubby joined him and they spent another hour outside.

God is teaching our family about giving.

I think it's a lesson we needed to learn. Every time I turn around there are more needs, greater sacrifices in front of me. God is stretching my giving heart and wallet more than I ever expected.

But we have a choice.

My daughter didn't help with the neighbor's lawn. As she watched her brother and dad through the window, she was bothered by her choice.

"Mom, do you think it's bad that I don't want to help?"

I hugged her and encouraged her to listen her heart. "There are always opportunities to give, you just have to look for them."
1 John 3:16-19“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence ...”
Some are natural givers (like my son) and the rest of us struggle with it.

I think this is the true meaning of Christmas. Our family is trying to capture it, hang on to it, live it.

God is an exceptional giver. Look at all He's given us. His greatest gift was His Only Son. What an extravagant, generous gift.

Look around you today, find a need and fill it.

It feels good to give.

Last night, the doorbell rang and it was our neighbor with a plate of brownies.

They had my son's name on them.

"Heavenly Father, you have given us good gifts, perfect gifts and we thank You for them. Please help us to meet the needs of others, first physically and then by offering you as The Greatest Gift of all. Show us the opportunities and stretch us. In your name, Amen."

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Blogger Denise said...

Amen, beautiful post.

December 8, 2008 at 1:34 AM  
Blogger Sandy said...

Tears in my eyes.

My prayer has been that God makes me a giver. It's hard. But the rewards are brownies...brownies are great. (would't it be awesome if someone showed up at our door with brownies every time we gave?)

I heard Joyce Meyer say a few years ago when she was praying that God would make her a giver, "Being a giver doesn't mean giving your extra thing or the thing you don't use anymore. Being a giver means giving your favorite thing...your only thing."

I've been working on that. And pray that for my children, as well.


December 8, 2008 at 7:26 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Dukes Lee said...

The words have been said before, but are worth repeating: When we are the givers, we are blessed as much (if not more than) the receivers. ... Truly, as Scripture says, "it is greater to give than to receive." And giving doesn't have to be in the form of $100 checks or global mission trips. When we do little things for others, we do BIG things for the Lord.
God bless you, Kristen!

December 8, 2008 at 8:48 AM  
Blogger Betsy Markman said...

This is definitely an area where I struggle...and my children certainly haven't benefited from the lack of example I've given them.

May God give us all more giving hearts!

December 8, 2008 at 9:01 AM  
Blogger karin said...

And even in the face of not being thanked, we are to continue to give. I always told my volunteers to give the seniors a smile, especially to those who have none to give. What excitement when the volunteer would come back weeks later and tell me, Mrs. S. smiled at me first today - she saw me coming down the hall and smiled! Yes, God is good - the One who gives us perfect gifts!

December 8, 2008 at 9:03 AM  
Anonymous Willow said...

This is beautiful. God bless your whole family -- your son the natural giver, your husband the encourager/helper, your daughter with the strong heart to question her choices (so many adults never get to that point) and you for nurturing her through her bad feelings AND recognizing the gift you have in them.

December 8, 2008 at 9:25 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...

awesome! tell your little man he can come gather pine needles her anytime- and I too shall bake him some goodies :-)
great story and what a great heart he has! You know your doing something right.

December 8, 2008 at 9:37 AM  
Blogger Lucie said...

This was a beautiful picture of what God wants for each of us, a giving and loving heart that reaches out to others without expecting anything in return.

Many Blessings on you and your family as you strive to be a light in this world.


LucieInCA [at] aol [dot] com

December 8, 2008 at 11:42 AM  
Blogger Shelley a.k.a. Momma said...

What a sweet boy!

December 8, 2008 at 12:05 PM  
Anonymous LifeAtTheCircus said...

What a sweet testimony to how your children are seeing God's love in you and your husbands actions and God is working in their hearts compelling them to give to others as well.

December 8, 2008 at 12:58 PM  
Blogger Double the blessing said...

What a beautiful post. I have been trying harder than ever to be a giver. I have been blessed so much in my life I want to give back to others.

December 8, 2008 at 6:33 PM  
Blogger Today's Christian Mom~ said...

Isn't it amazing how it is always the little ones who just do it? Wonderful story.

December 11, 2008 at 2:09 PM  
Anonymous Cheryl Jacobs said...

Cheryl Said,
Wonderful story! Our children always follow our lead. I pray that God gives me the courage to give more!

December 21, 2009 at 5:46 AM  

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