gifts of Love for Christmas

Are there any people around you that may need help this Christmas? Is there someone who you could bless? I know it’s a bit last minute, but I want you all to think outside the ‘gift boxes’ for just a minute…
In the bible, Jesus encourages us all to take care of the poor, the orphans & the widows. Our family has spent time this week serving the poor, bringing them groceries & meals & even a very special gift to one young family that we wanted to encourage. The boys & I are also planning to use some of our leftover chocolates (we got a HUGE box from friends!) to wrap up & give to our neighbors here on the 51st floor of our apartment tower. We will wrap them up in some tissue paper, put a handwritten note & a story about Jesus (in English & Cantonese) inside & tie a pretty bow on the outside. We hope to catch each of them when they are home, but if not, we’ll leave it by their doors… Seems like such a ‘country’ gesture in this slick & fast moving city – but maybe, just maybe it will open a door to new friendships right down the hall! This is how we teach our children to love others, think of others & have a servant’s heart like Jesus. One day, we pray they will become servant leaders, in many ways – they already are… Makes a Mama proud to hear them brainstorm how to bless those around them instead of themselves!!
I’ve been spending so much time looking through pictures & files of “waiting children” on all these adoption websites. It makes my heart ache because so many of them aren’t even in that “too fragile to handle” category with their Special Needs… but there they sit, waiting for someone to call Mom/Dad because their conditions sound/look so scary… While praying for God to show us the RIGHT ONE for us, the one He’s already chosen for us – thinking of ways that I can make a difference for another family RIGHT NOW… that makes me smile & lightens my burdened heart just a little. A lightened heart is the gift that God gives back to us when we give from our hearts & even our brokenness & sacrifice in the midst of our own pain & need. That is part of the Christmas gift that IS Christ! You see, He gives us a choice to become more & more like Him everyday. He’ll do the work in us, but only if we choose it!
This year, instead of buying tons & tons of gifts for your family… instead of over drawing your credit cards… instead of sitting on Facebook all day “Sharing” things that other people did or said… think about how you can give something from your heart, even if you don’t have the money or the time to give a store-bought gift. Most likely you do though.

christmas is love

Here’s some ideas on how to help &/or to find a few extra dollars. Use these any time of year, not just at Christmas! If you still think you just need to share on FB – then please share this post so others can ‘pay it fwd’ & ‘be blessed to be a blessing’ while sharing the love of Jesus just like you! I dare you to try some of these & see how Jesus’ love flowing through you just might actually change, heal & bless YOU! Be transformed friends! – Be sure to tell us how it went in the comments – your story will inspire countless others!

Time & $ Saving Gift Ideas:

  • skip a few trips to Starbucks to pay for a gift for a poor family in your community. Ask your church if you don’t already know who needs help. {No ‘extra’ $$!}

  • get the kids involved, explain that one less gift for each of them = they can pick out one gift for a child in need. Call a children’s hospital & see what age kids they have with few visitors. A prayer & a smile go a long way!  {No ‘extra’ $$!}

  • keep a ‘help the poor’ jar all year – throw all your loose change in, it adds up quick. {No ‘extra’ $$!}

  • with the money you save, help the kids fill a box (or 2 or 3) for “Operation Christmas Child” with Samaritan’s Purse. (for info & drop off locations go here.)

  • call a local church & sign up to help their holiday outreach. {No $$$!}

  • ask if anyone know of a clothes collection.  {NO TIME shopping & NO $ spent!}

  • go out for dessert instead of dinner or skip a few McDonald’s trips. (remind the family who the saved $ will go to, “remember, you’re helping me buy/make cookies for the neighbors!”)  {No ‘extra’ $$!}

  • give plates of cookies to neighbors, using a real plate – say something like “just bring it back when you’re done!” – when they do, invite them in for coffee & maybe a new friendship will emerge.  {NO TIME shopping!}

  • keep only ONE of those store-bought boxes of goodies (chocolate, popcorn, etc.) that you get at all the various work, church, scouts & family parties – open the rest, divvy it up in left over cellophane or tissue wraps & hand them out! Works great with a ‘track’ about Jesus & a hand written note saying you’re praying for them! {NO TIME shopping & NO $ spent!}

  • send the kids out to rake leaves or shovel snow – give them cards to hand out when they are thanked “I’m blessed to be a blessing! Merry Christmas!” {NO TIME shopping & NO $ spent!}

  • call your MOM! (or someone else’s Mom that is a blessing to you!) {NO TIME shopping & NO $ spent!}

I could probably go on & on, but the point is for you & your family to get together & make YOUR plan! Then PRAY for the people you’ll be blessing. Then go out & DO IT! I guarantee it will get you all smiling & totally help reduce your stress! The whole point of Christmas is Jesus! The whole point of Jesus is LOVE – HIS love for ALL of us – so go SHARE ABOUT THAT!!!

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ -Mathew 25:40

-JK

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looking for His will, His way

“Dear Santa, I want a little sister for Christmas!” Who knew a scribbled note on a torn piece of paper could make me tear up… Funny how God places OUR dreams into the hearts of our children. At 8yrs old, Wesley is our youngest son, he’s been asking for a baby sister since he could talk. He loved to give tender kisses to all the babies I cared for when he was a toddler. He falls in love with every little one he meets – & I’m always amazed at how quickly they fall in love with him too! Such a sweet & gentle boy. (When he’s not being wild & dangerous! Ha!)
The update on our ‘slow to start’ China adoption journey is this: We are looking for the ‘right one’ at the moment. When we find her, it will be another 8-15 months before we can go & bring her home. Certainly the Lord has already chosen our daughter… we simply trust Him & wait until He shows us when & how to make our move! We’ve learned to wait on God, He always shows us His will & His way to get things done… We shall keep you all posted if anything exciting happens! 🙂 Until then, we remain very focused on our daily lives in this big city full of people that we have yet to meet. Read on…
Living in a city where so many have never thought twice about throwing money at their problems… makes me thankful for all the times we learned to trust in Jesus when we had nothing else… Some people have never had that opportunity & the blessing of learning to trust Him so much. I pray often for the wisdom & God’s vision for reaching those folks, the ones that have all the money & none of the hope. There has to be a way to show them Heaven’s love & hope that money simply cannot buy.
These were my thoughts while looking @ local bookstores for “the Tale of the Three Trees”, our gift for a young family living in poverty in the Sub-Divided-Apartment community that we visit weekly… It’s one of our family’s favorite stories & it has beautiful pictures. We’re praying it will bring joy & the love of Jesus to this little immigrant family. They may not have any other presents this Christmas, this one will show them the real meaning of this season! Are there people around you that may need help this Christmas? Is there someone that you could bless? The bible encourages us all to take care of the poor, the orphans & the widows.
What are you asking God for? He is faithful to show us His plans & purposes for our lives, just like in the Tale of the Three Trees…

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” -James 1:27