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Jan 2

Christmas Recap

Posted on Monday, January 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

This Christmas week was very different. For the first time since we got married we did not travel.  We had a great time the 23rd — our Christmas — but the 24th & 25th felt a little empty and lonely.

Don’t get me wrong, we had a peaceful and blessed Christmas week, it was just different than in the past.

Perilous Presents

If our family and friends depended on me knowing their interests and needs they would never get anything.  Whether I’m being frugal or I’m ignorant, I simply don’t know what people like.

Even the people I eat pizza with every month or so I don’t remember their preferences.

I enjoy the presents I get, but, honesty, I almost always enjoy giving more.

International Blessings

Jesus Christ said that when we bless the poor it’s like “you were doing it for me!” 1

I just had to learn how.

A few years ago Steve Peterson and Mark Thompson inspired me to see the value in micro-financing.  Opportunity International, one of the micro-financing organizations we support “provides small business loans, savings, insurance and training to … people working their way out of poverty in the developing world.”

When I give micro-financing gifts I spread the joy of Christmas around the world.

My favorite presents that I gave weren’t big — $20-$45 — but they helped bring hope:

– In Amy’s name — through Christian Aid — Ronnie Tun in Burma helps people trapped in sex slavery find hope. Ronnie, like my son Josh, worked as a mechanic and has a great heart. I knew Amy would love to support his work in Burma.

– In Josh’s name — through Opportunity International — Rafael Vega Lopez, a Columbian man, could buy additional supplies for his fast food restaurant.  Josh likes fast food!

Tayler is Josh’s’s gf. In Tayler’s name — through Kiva — Jane from Kenya could buy some more fish for her fish farm.  Tayler cares about the needs of women even across the planet.

– In Shannon’s name — through Kiva — I donated enough money for Cristhian Maricela Garcia of Nicaragua to buy clothing, silver, and cosmetic merchandise for her store.  Shannon loves watching people’s prayers get answered and their dreams come true.

Sacrificing Selfishness

Generosity came easier when  I realized how blessed I’ve been.  I also had to learn to see the needs of others.  Then I had to believe — as Seth Gobin wrote in his book Tribes — that “anyone who wants to make a difference can!” 

Fun Stuff

The present I received that I think about the most is the handheld scanner I still can’t figure out.

Amy kinda bought herself a present for Christmas.  She bought The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess game for the Wii.  It’s funny how much she loves that game!

How about you?
Did you get to give any presents you were excited to give?
Get any gifts that you’re excited that you got?

1 – Matthew 25:40

Bring on the comments

  1. I don’t really like to talk about this because I don’t want to get attention for something I did, but it was something I prayed about and it seemed like at the last minute God revealed who He wanted us to help out this Christmas.
    Bryan had asked before Thanksgiving if I knew of a family that we could help out, either financially, or with food. Of course you think of so many people that are in need, but I wasn’t sure who God wanted us to help out. I made a couple of Packer Fleece Tie Blankets and posted them on Craigslist.
    Someone had emailed me and asked how low I would go with the price for one of them. The price was set at $65. In order to pay for the material and my time, I told her the lowest I could go was $60. She said that sounded fair, and told me she was looking for something to buy for her son. After emailing back and forth a few times. I found out she was a single mom who had an 18 year old son, and a 7 year old son, and was struggling to get by and taking care of her sons the best she could. She was trying to find a gift for an 18 year old and when you don’t have a lot of money, that is pretty hard. I felt that was who God wanted us to help out. I told her to call me and we could talk. She called and I found out that they had moved up to Green Bay from Chicago and that her son liked the Bears (boo), and now that they were in Green Bay, he started to like the Packers instead (ha ha Scott). I told her that if she wanted the blanket that I would give it to her. Alyssa and I had made some smaller fleece tie blankets and we had one that was light blue and white checkered, and if she thought her 7 year old son would like it, he could have that one. She said that would be great and we set up a time to meet on Christmas Eve. Talk about God coming through at the last minute. I even threw in a gift of lotion and body spray for her. She hopped on the city bus (obviously she had no car), and met us at a store. I gave her the gifts and she was very thankful. I told her that it was because of God’s love for me that I was giving to her. That was the best part of my Christmas, besides spending time with family. She sent me an email in all caps saying thank you from the bottom of her heart, and that they, as well as her, loved their blankets. She couldn’t believe someone would do that for a perfect stranger. I had ended one of my emails to her that said that “Jesus is the reason for the season”, and that is how she ended her email to me. I love when God provides for other people through us. Oh yeah, as I was making the blankets, I was praying for the people who were going to get them. I hope through the gift of giving they saw the love that God has for them and will someday come to know Him as their Lord and Savior. That would be the best Christmas gift ever. So when all is said and done, that is really all that matters. I hope to see them in heaven someday.

  2. Thanks Lynn!
    I am convinced that whatever we do for the poor [and those who need extraordinary support] that Jesus thinks it’s like a gift to him.
    Thanks for being a positive role model for your fam, that fam and these readers!

  3. Scott, I am convinced of the same. I feel God’s smile in my heart when I give.

  4. I love how you put that, “I feel God’s smile in my heart when I give.” !!!

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