Congratulations fellow human! You survived Christmas!
Go ahead and take a deep breath. Jumpstart those post-holiday, oxygen starved neurons sluggishly making their way to your brain. Don’t worry. They have 365 days to pull together before 2018 festivities arrive. Breathe in……breathe ouuuuuuuuuut….
If you’re like me, you may have teetered between madness and magic over the last month. Let me paint a picture:
Endless sipping of coffee, white-knuckle clinging to the “Choose Joy” campaign on my local Christian station, reminding myself to take it all in, deep breathing through clenched jaws and perhaps coddling a mini-break down (or two).
Christmas concerts, teacher gifts, bonuses, holiday cookies, Amazon Prime Christmas delivery deadlines, hiding Christmas kittens, family gatherings and sneaky last-minute gift wrapping behind counters, in pantries and in cold garages.
By the way, our family holiday picture didn’t go out but I think they can double as Valentine greeting cards or maybe 4th of July? Be on the lookout.
But in between the bursts of madness, the magic seeps in. I’m not talking about elves on the shelves, Santa Claus or twinkling tree lights.
I’m talking about the magic that happens when we give of our resources, time and especially, when we give out of the joy of our salvation.
In spite of my own induced merry mayhem, I tried to take in the lulls between the hustle. I gift you THREE of these merry moments and hope that you will share one or two with me.
The Gift of Resources
About a month ago, I posted this picture. Several of our artisans in Haiti had recently opened up their home to a young man who had been living on the streets. His name is Guetchine and I had the pleasure of meeting him on my last trip to Haiti (2nd from the right).
One evening, I stepped out onto the HandUp house terrace to capture one of these lulls between the hustle. Under the lamp post, Guetchine was sitting with a sandal on his lap. He was braiding the top strap while Patrick, stood over him helping him with his newly learned technique.
I silently watched as this depiction of generosity unfolded before me. Guetchine needed a place to live and some food to eat and some of our artisans provided that. Patrick knows he also needs some work to live. It brought joy to my heart to see him giving of his skills and experience so that another can have a chance to thrive.
The Gift of Time
This year because of tight budgets and limited staff, HandUp had made the hard decision not to make our yearly Christmas trip to Haiti. It broke our hearts that we wouldn’t be able to help Max deliver a Christmas blessing to the children of Canaan. That is…until Shelby came to me and asked how she could help. Before we knew it, a mission trip was on its way. My Sunday school class also stepped in and took on the purchase of Christmas gifts for the 16 children that Max supports in Canaan. In addition, Shelby and the other young women, collected money and gifts in order to provide our artisans with gifts for the season. NONE of this could have happened without their “yes” to embark on a trip just days before Christmas.
The Gift of Salvation
I had just sat down at our Christmas Eve dinner with family. It had been a wonderful afternoon with a scavenger hunt, a snow machine and we were about to enjoy a wonderful meal together when this text came through from the founders of our partner orphanage Grangou.
“I just got back from Haiti with Carrie and thought of you guys. I know Haiti is hard and running a business there is hard but the payoff is such a blessing from God. This week, among other things, the Be the Change Guys had a Christmas party for 100 street kids. So these guys that we found 8 years ago with nothing, are now ministering to other street kids. We taught them Jesus and gave them a home. You guys gave them hope and a life and built their spirits. Now they are offering that same help to other kids.
The result from the Christmas Party: 22 of those street kids accepted Jesus as their Savior. No better example of why we fight through the challenges and why we celebrate.”
THIS is Christmas. We live for these moments. We FIGHT for these moments. It is this MAGIC that sustains us through the grind and toil of good works that don’t always feel so good.
So my wish for those of you recovering from the hustle of the holidays–May the magic of the Christmas lulls linger for you in 2018.
Happy New Year!!!!