I started this Christmas season longing for a different focus. I wanted my kids to see the meaning behind the season.
I made a list of places where we could give. I looked up their phone numbers, addresses and email addresses. I emailed a handful of local social service organizations in the area.
The longing in my heart grew and so did my frustration.
I waited on email replies that never came. I put out the list of phone numbers but never found a calm moment to call.
I've mentioned this a few times recently- I'm having trouble keeping up with my day-to-day life. At the end of the day -and often right smack dab in the middle of it- I am depleted.
I cannot erase the desire to give from my heart or reconcile the difficulties of a busy life.
Is it possible that my life just doesn't lend itself well to giving?
My heart's cry is that I want less of me.
I cannot erase the desire but I can change my heart.
I've realized that the havoc that might be created with a stressed-out mom taking 4 kids on a service project isn't what's necessary.
That's not a change of focus for Christmas. I would have put a check mark besides "Giving" but it wouldn't have come freely- out of love. That's not what I want.
I can give to others from my life- from my heart.
I want to live what I believe. If my heart is full of a dedication to God this season, the kids will notice. If my desire is to serve God, I will see opportunities to meet needs.
I've decided to focus on my community. My neighbors. My friends. Teachers. Other Parents. Clerks at the grocery store.
In some ways, it is only a heightened awareness (stepped up effort) to something I was already working on. I may only be able to offer babysitting, cookies, a meal, a friendly conversation- but I will give what I can, without reserve. I will look for ways to meet needs and offer kindness.
We may still donate toys or food locally but I am committed to showing love to those around me in new and personal ways.
This is where I focus on loving others for Christmas.