Editor’s Note: This is a guest blog by Ann Voscamp, one of my new-found Christian blogging friends. She gave me permission to re-post a portion of her message here.
Ann is married to a farmer and the couple has six children, which Ann home schools. How and when she finds time to write and blog is one of those mysteries of the universe. Ann is an accomplished writer. She writes for DaySpring’s site, (in)Courage, is a contributing editor for The High Calling, with articles in ChristianityToday.com and The Beacon. “Now and then, I stand before microphones and pray hard before I speak,” she said. “I scratched out words in an award-winning series for curious kids, A Child’s Geography (Knowledge Quest Press, 2007), of which all profits are donated to Compassion. To read the rest of her story, follow this link to her blog after you read this special Christmas message. I believe some, if not all, of the photos here she took as well.”
It’s been over ten years of nothing under the Christmas tree here.
Strange, the way children teach men.::
It was dark, I do remember that. Bedtime. Smoothing back hair, kissing foreheads.
One round moon hanging large outside the window, an ornament dangling off stars, decorating the night.
I had gifts to wrap. So, pull up the blankets. Prayers. And then, when I’m at the door, one hand on the door
frame, resting in the light of the hallway, I turn to close the door a bit on the dark.
He stops me with just one question:
“What does Jesus get for His birthday?”
The words hung… strung me up.
I say the words into the black. Um… A cake? Our love?
I can hear him turn again in the bed, roll over on the pillow. Restless…
“But Mom…. if we get wrapped presents for our birthdays, real sacrifices from people who love us — they gave up other things to give something to us — then why don’t we do that for Jesus’ birthday?”
I stand at the door looking into all that light cast down the hallway.
Why is the sky blue, why do we blink, how do clouds hold all that water, the children ask me a thousand questions and the world spins dizzy on a million questions I don’t know the answers to.
I stand in the dark, the light right there, and I grope for the answer that could change the world…
“Why don’t we give up things so we can give to Jesus for His birthday?”
Is it always this way, that a little child will lead them?
He was four or five that year, I can’t remember. I just know that now he’s fifteen and I stepped out into the light and we’ve done all the Christmases since his way, giving away. It’s not at all wrong to do it differently, but just for us… all the Christmas gifts — gifts for the Christ Child.
I shamefully confess I thought it would somehow make me sad. I am a very slow learner.
How could I have thought that only love under the tree would do anything but make our happiness flourish?
The Birthday Child tells us what He wants: Give to the least of these and you give to Me.
So this is how we do it: We pick out gifts from His gift catalogues — Compassion Catalog, Samaritan’s Purse Catalog, Partner’s International Catalog, World Vision Catalog, Gospel for Asia Catalog, Mennonite Central Committee Catalog.
It happens after breakfast, each day for the last two weeks of Advent, selecting one gift for He who is Christmas.
They flip pages, deciding on what to give Him today:
“Anyone think we should get a pair of rabbits today?”
“I was thinking mosquito nets. Two. I wouldn’t want to die of malaria.”
“If we buy a seed packet for a family, our gift is tripled.”
“Did you read the story on page 25 about what a difference it makes for an orphan family . . .continue reading Ann’s When Christmas Gets Radical on her site.
Samaritan’s Purse Catalog
Partner’s International Catalog
World Vision Catalog
Gospel for Asia Catalog
Mennonite Central Committee Catalog