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Give a little gift

Well, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed and my inbox is finally resembling its normal flow of spam.  For the first time since kids descended in my life, I opted for no shopping.  Even online.  Completely out of character for me but after several monetary set-backs we just decided to avoid the adrenaline rush that those shopping excursions produce and our resultant overspending.

As I have briefly mentioned before, we are starting a new gift tradition for our family.  We wanted to not only tone down the “stuff” that comes with Christmas but also provide a visible outlet of the money we saved towards a gift for someone in need.  We wanted something our kids could get excited about giving to someone they don’t know.  There are tons of avenues for such gifts, donations, charities etc out there.  But we decided on World Vision for a few reasons. They have a ton of options for a huge range of prices. They send a catalog.  Sure, it’s simple enough, but my kids can all flip through the pages and decide what to give.  This involves them in a way that they can see.  I could just donate but this makes a greater impact on my kids.  But for my daughter, who’s old enough to read what each animal or gift could provide, she begins to own herself that saying no to an extra 10$ gift for herself can buy a family in need 2 ducks.  And she’s thrilled to take the money she has saved all year and buy them herself.

So perhaps if you have saved big on the gifts on your Christmas list from Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you might take a few minutes to see what just a few dollars could bring to someone.  It might make more of an impact than you think.

Faith of a child

Thanksgiving Day brought trial to my family.  Oh, sure, there was the normal hostess trials to be found but we had additional trauma to deal with only an hour or so before family descended.

In an effort to burn some energy off our kids before they were required to have “company manners” we took them all down the road to ride skateboards and a Big Wheel for Jake. I am by nature a giant grace-less clutz so I sat in a lawn chair and provided the end boundary of riding.  We all know the saying…it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.  My sweet girly, a graceful and talented skateboarder even at this age, was goofing off and performed a YouTube worthy scorpion wipeout.  It’s the term for feet-over-head falls.  By nature these are head first falls; her’s was face first.  I was up and running before I could even see her face…I knew it was bad.  Her upper lip caught the edge of the board, slicing the inside of the lip deep enough to justify stitches (though we didn’t get them), deeply abraiding the upper lip and under the nose while the cheek and eye got the road rash from the pavement.  Blood, shock, a mild concussion.  My husband being an EMT and I being a nurse, we quickly had her cleaned although it took several hours before memory returned and the mild hysteria wore off.

However, it was the following day, getting into the car that she let her faith shine.  I was gently talking about how people will stare and some will ask what happened.  I wanted her prepared in case we ran across anyone rude enough to be mean but to know that those who simply ask or stare just do so out of curiosity, love, sympathy etc. She laughed a little and said, Well, I miss my regular Sabrina face but this was in God’s plan so there’s good in it somewhere.  And I was speechless with her faith.  Simple.  Honest.  Trusting.  Beautiful.

Sometimes, as adults, we complicate the issue.  We want to know where the good is in our suffering.  The why.  The how to get out of it.  And she modeled to me true child-like faith in her Lord, not worrying with those things, just trusting.  And I want to be just like her.

He is Everything

We are nothing. He is everything.

Anonymous (2012-09-20). Embracing Obscurity: Becoming Nothing in Light of God’s Everything (p. 52). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

So ends Chapter Three in Embracing Obscurity.  It sums up a beautifully detailed chapter on the humility of Christ and the pride of Satan…and just to whom do we identify with more?  Drawing from Isaiah 14:12-16 and Ezekiel 28:12-17 for a snapshot of Satan’s audacity to try to elevate himself above His creator and his resultant humiliation we see the truth of Ephesians 2:1-3 in ourselves.  I struggle daily, even minute by minute, to have the mind of Christ (Phil 2:6-8).  Instead, I default to “the prince of the power of the air” and his mind.

The author brings to point a stark point that I hadn’t thought to consider:

The Supreme Being of the universe came to Earth as a helpless baby, was raised within the confines of obscurity, and— at the height of His brief “success”— the crowds turned on Him and unfairly nailed Him to a cross like a common criminal.

Anonymous (2012-09-20). Embracing Obscurity: Becoming Nothing in Light of God’s Everything (p. 52). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

This is our model!  A servant is no greater than his master and my master humbled Himself, became nothing and died. This is what Philippians 2:6-8 says, just in a way we can “grasp” a bit better.  He confined Himself to obscurity, Him who

All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
(John 1:3 ESV)

For the glory and purpose of His Father.  Which was to redeem a people unto Himself.  I see how much I don’t resonate with this mentality.  How much more aggressively I need to be with the Holy Spirit leading me to crucify my own selfish wants, desires, pride and search for glory so I may too, have the mind of Christ and be able to say:  I am nothing.  He is everything.