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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas in Februrary

My day was all planned.

I got up as usual, drove my daughter to school, and rushed back home to shower and get ready, just in time to head back to school for a special event for my daughter's class.

If I had gone to bed earlier the night before, I would have been up early to shower and get ready before the drive to school. Instead, I was wearing old, stretchy pants, half-brushed hair, and a full-up grumpy disposition.

Without any coffee.

After the special class event, I was off to the craft store to purchase a few things for an unfinished project, then to the grocery store for milk, cat food, staple items and lots of Diet Coke to keep me going.

I put the milk in the refrigerator just in time to sit down for a bite of lunch, look over my Bible study, and then regroup and recharge myself to drive to the Bible study discussion.

Minutes after our study time was over, I drove (again) to school to pick up my daughter, head home and literally collapse.

But before I kicked off my shoes and crashed on the couch, I took a walk to the mailbox. In a stack of letters, I found a "Special Message From Our Sponsored Child."

I wonder if she will ever know how much I look forward to her letters.

The letter was written at Christmas. Due to the time delay in translation and mailing, I received it in February.

It was right on time.

The letter was filled with questions. A small drawing decorated the bottom. A photo of a children's Christmas party filled the top.

In a translated message, a little Haitian girl shared her heart. She said she will not stop praying for me and my family (for me and my family?) She thanked us for our letters. She thanked us for the Christmas gift.

Through the sponsorship ministry, we were given the opportunity to give a small, extra donation towards a Christmas gift for our sponsored child. We were thrilled. Every child deserves something special at Christmas.

I can remember receiving Christmas or birthday money as a child. Mama said not to "let it burn a hole in my pocket." She and Daddy encouraged me to save it or, at the very least, think carefully about how I spent it. Like most kids, I spent it on candy or a toy that was quickly forgotten.

As I read the letter, I learned just what our little sponsored child bought with her money.

She bought a goat.

Wrap your mind around that, if you can.

Tears began to stream down my face as I continued to read. I heard the joy in this little girl's voice. I know that the ministry gave this little girl a personal gift as well, but the image of a child buying a goat for her family with her Christmas money. No. Words. Describe.

I read the letter over and over as the tears fell. I looked closely at the faces of the children in the photo. All of their eyes were bright, full of hope, of wonder. I could almost hear the laughter.

Valentine's Day was just over a week away. Store shelves were stocked with heart-shaped boxes filled with chocolate, plush animals of pinks and reds, endearing gifts, all carefully designed expressions of love.

On a day in February, I received a Christmas letter. Christmas- the ultimate expression of Love.

On an ordinary, crazy day I was humbled by a little girl in a place I cannot imagine.

I am grieved for her struggles. I am overwhelmed with sadness and with joy. I am puzzled by the remarkable workings of God. I am grateful to trust and know a God Who loves this little girl with perfect love.

I am struck with the mystery that the God Who loves these precious ones also loves me. He loves this sinful, prideful, incomplete person who falls short each and every day.

He loves us. He loves us enough to send a Saviour in a manager, even when we forget months later as stored shelves are emptied of the reminders.

I don't know what you are wishing for this Christmas. Healing in a marriage? A job? Help with the mortgage payment? Are you grieving the loss of a loved one? The empty nest of a child gone to college?

Let this be your Christmas letter. Let it be right on time.

Dear one, He loves you.

He loves us enough to give us the desires of our hearts. Letters with smiling faces, drawings from tiny hands, candy-filled boxes, pink bears and red roses.

And goats. Yes, even goats.

"God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real loveā€”not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins."
1 John 4: 9-10

Join Melanie at her personal blogspot, "This Ain't New York."

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Blogger Denise said...

Beyond beautiful.

December 9, 2009 at 5:25 AM  
Anonymous alisa said...

God spoke to me through your words. I thank you earnestly for that!

December 9, 2009 at 11:33 PM  
Blogger Joan said...

Melanie - this is beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes as I read. Thank you for sharing.

December 10, 2009 at 5:59 AM  

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It is good to hear from you... thank you so very much for leaving a note on the table. That makes us smile!

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