Saturday, December 13, 2008

It REALLY is more fun to give than to receive...

Growing up one of my favorite childhood memories was that of our Christmas morning routine.

My sisters and I would awake very early and rush to the family room to see what Santa had left for us while we slept. We would then rummage through our stockings, each sort our presents into piles and spend time shaking and analyzing what might be in each of the many packages Santa had left for us. Once the sun came up, we were allowed to wake my parents. But in my Father's bid to
torturetease us, he had this whole routine where he would stretch and yawn for what seemed like hours before budging. Then of course we would have to bring him coffee. And just when we thought we were going to begin opening presents, my Dad would suddenly have a craving for a cookie. My Dad would prolong his morning routine until us kids were bursting with excitement. Only then were we allowed to begin opening presents. As much as we may have acted otherwise, my sisters and I loved this little game.

Who among us does not have a favourite childhood memory of waking up on Christmas morning? A tree that somehow seemed larger than life, presents flowing from beneath its branches and perhaps the wonderful smells of a turkey roasting in the oven. Now try and picture your life void of those memories, try and picture being a child who might not get to know those sights, those smells, that overwhelming, uncontainable joy when Santa's existence is indisputable?

For many children, they do not have to imagine that - they live it.

This year, we have "adopted" a family for the the holidays through our church's affiliation with South Street Ministries. Our adopted family consists of a single mom and her four young children. When the mom approached South Street Ministries for help with Christmas, she was very reluctant to ask for much because she did not want to seem “greedy”, she just wanted to make sure that her kids each had a present to open on Christmas morning. When a family seeks help from South Street, they are asked to complete a Christmas list. The initial wish list the family submitted was somewhat heartbreaking…the 5 year old boy asked for a stocking as he has never had one before, the 3 year old asked for shoes, another child wanted a blanket.

Santa, carrying a sack full of toys and a stocking for each child, accompanied us to meet the family this week. With the help of family and friends we were also able to gather two carloads of used toys, clothes, blankets and household items for the family. The children were ecstatic to not only meet Santa for the first time, but also so thankful for just the used items we brought. The 8 year old girl was literally jumping up and down she was so excited as she came across a Hannah Montana shirt among the clothes we brought her.

We have also collected dozens of new items we are wrapping that will be waiting for the children when they awake Christmas morning. I hope that THIS Christmas will become a favorite childhood memory for our adopted family.

Spending time with those kids jolted me out of my comfort zone into an unfamiliar setting, but I left feeling very good about myself. It's amazing how giving a little to others can be so rewarding for the soul.

Yes, I do have a point to all this. I am challenging everyone who reads this to do something for those less fortunate this holiday season. Whether you donate unneeded household items, give money, volunteer your time, there are many ways to get involved.

Are you a parent reading this? What a great opportunity to teach your children compassion. Together as a family you could decide on a way to help someone else. Maybe your good thing is anonymous. Maybe that family in need doesn't need to know you left the basket of goodies on their porch or put that gift certificate in their mailbox.

It's almost selfish. Why? Because it will make you feel good. It really is more fun to give than it is to receive.

Happy Holidays,

P.S. Thank you to all my special blogging friends for your prayers, kind words, and emails. Kyle spent four days in the hospital on oxygen support,and is at home doing much better now. He ended up having pneumonia, and with his lungs already compromised, it hit him quick and hard. I apologize for not posting an update. The weekend Kyle got sick was the same weekend we adopted our family…losing almost a week's time with Kyle sick and in the hospital really put us in a time crunch. Anyways, thanks so much for the thoughts and prayers and I am sorry for my lack of updates.