Giving comes in many shapes and sizes. It can be expensive, or it can be virtually free. This Christmas it seems that everyone we know has generously given a Christmas to others. Complete strangers. No strings attached.
It's amazing. Heartwarming. Inspiring. Totally Jesus!
I know a couple that is selflessly caring for a little girl right now because her mother is unable due to medical issues. It is improbable that this little girl will live with them beyond this school year, but they treat her with the same love, care and investment as their own two daughters. They are giving this little girl a lovely life and sharing the love of Christ that she will carry with her forever.
Through this little girl's mother, my friends have become acquainted with three other single moms. Between the four moms, they have eight children. All these families asked for for Christmas were hand-me-down clothes and toys. I passed the word on to my friends and every single child on the list was given what was needed, and then some.
Inside these bags are both hand-me-downs and brand new clothing. What might have brought each donor $10 in garage sale proceeds, now rests beneath Christmas trees awaiting the eager unwrapping of young children. They will each be warmly dressed and surly delighted with some unexpected toys and books. The above is only one of the four deliveries!
Another story of overwhelming generosity is this... There are two families who decided several years ago to have a garage sale and use the proceeds to support families through the Salvation Army and other similar agencies. The response to their efforts is so great - they have to rent a storage unit to house all the donations for the garage sale! They also have to rent the biggest U-Haul available to deliver all the gifts!! The garage sale this year raised $5,000. There was also a benefit concert, and when shopping time rolled around, many people donated again. This year the group was able to give Christmas to 180 people!
In addition to Christmas gifts for all, the group provided a box of toiletries, a box of non-perishable foods and a ham for each family. It is truly amazing. We treasure being a part of this.
Our children shopped with us and drew sweet pictures for the kids. We talked about these families' needs and prayed for them regularly. They were so moved by the entire experience that they really didn't have anything they wanted to put on their Christmas lists. (Except Luke - he wants Sock Monkey.)
I am in awe over the many ways that we can give. We can hit the stores for brand new items or give things our children have outgrown. We can give directly to someone who needs it, or donate to a charity sale. We can go all out and sponsor entire families by ourselves, or we can pool our resources and give with friends. We can sponsor a child through Compassion, or provide fresh water through Wells for Life. The list goes on... Whichever method one chooses, the giving means so very much.
In a time when the economy is struggling and needs for agencies like the Salvation Army are nearly double what they were this time last year, I am in love with the generosity I've seen in our community. We are so richly blessed to live here and to have so many caring friends and neighbors. People have given not out of obligation or because they'd receive something in return. They've given from their hearts, to make like a little better for someone else.