I started Christmas shopping the other day. Unusual for me, actually. I usually do this all year long. Shopping clearance sales. Finding the occasional great deal, then trying to figure out who I might know that can't live without it so I can buy it. It's really quite difficult for me to walk away from a great bargain. Like that $20 kids game I got for $8. Or the adorable newborn baby Christmas dress for $3.60. You get the idea. And then I stockpile the gifts. My closet has proven to be the most effective holding room. So, usually by this time of the year, I have bags upon boxes full of great finds spilling out.
But this year it's different. I somehow can't get myself to spend that much money. Not that $3.60 or $8 is a lot. I just can't seem to justify searching for that justification to buy something just because it's a great bargain. I've started to realize that the thrill of the hunt is just not worth it. Unless it's the hunt for somthing that's truly needed.
While cleaning out my daughter's bedroom last weekend, I realized, yet again, that my kids have WAY TOO many toys. In years past, I've come to this same realization and then gone on to purchase the aforementioned bargain clearance toy items anyway. But somehow this year my words have caught up with my actions. And I just can't do it. If they don't need it, I just can't seem to get myself to buy it.
Deep inside, I'm longing for that truly meaningful Christmas gift to give. A gift given not because I'm expected to or even because it's something my kids say they want. But something that truly shows my love for them. Something that will actually enhance their lives. Maybe even point them to Jesus more clearly.
Maybe it's because of Faa, the 28-year-old Thai woman my family now has the privelege of knowing. Faa's life has not only changed the lives of the five children she's adopted into her home in Thailand, but has also changed my life and those of my children. Having come from an abusive home into an orphanage where she was introduced to her Heavenly Father and the freedom and love of Jesus, her life's mission has become providing children with a home, despite her lack of finances. She told me a few weeks ago that, at home in Thailand, the one meal a day that she eats is the one that her job allows her. She does this so that she can use every penny of those she earns to provide food for her kids. So they can eat. She said that while she's been here in the States the food is so abundant, she just doesn't feel right throwing anything on her plate away, even when it's much too much for her to eat. Oh, if only we could take all of that food and beam it up to Thailand so they could eat even the scraps.
In light of all of that, I just can't seem to get into the spending spirit yet. Strangely, though, I feel even more in the Christmas Spirit than I've ever felt so early in November. So i'm praying that God shows me what He wants me to give. And I'm asking Him to show my kids and my husband.
And I'm ready for it.
p.s. GROW Thailand (www.facebook.com/GrowThailand?ref) is a brand new ministry to support Faa and her calling to rescue these children stuck in the sex and slave trade in Thailand.
Also, Asia's Hope (www.asiashope.org) is an amazing ministry of much the same type.