Sunday, November 27th, the first day of the season of Advent, BEGINS the new Christian year. So, if Advent begins a new year, it might be worth pausing for a moment to consider the a different way of living in time. How might our world be different if we lived in sacred rhythm? What if we opened and closed our days in prayer?Truly took a Sabbath? Avoided getting swept into holiday frenzy by living Advent? I believe that it would open us up to once again hear the truly good news of Christmas.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Creating a Legacy of Hope
Amanda Miner is a member of the Gifts of Hope team and a parent of a 1st grader...
Since I was asked to give a parent's perspective on buying gifts through Gifts of Hope, I really wanted to explore exactly why it is I choose to do this with Kate each year. Simply because it helps somebody and is a 'good' thing to do just doesn't cut to the heart of my motivation - although it may have started out that way. We've done several things over the last three or four years - including buying chickens and rabbits and maybe a goat or two at prior Gifts of Hope fairs. Kate's first response at opening a Christmas card at age 4, and learning that part of her gift was a pair of rabbits (for someone else, no less), was one of puzzlement - but what it did do was initiate a conversation that has been going on in various forms and activities for the following three years. Shortly after, we learned (together) about exactly how rabbits are used in Ghana, and how children are involved in the family livelihood-- so that parents might pass a legacy of hope down to them. We've written to Joan in Uganda, and now Jithendra in India. Kate's curiosity has been contagious - and in very specific ways. She wants to know names, ages, where they sleep, what they eat, what they like. Go figure - she wants to know them as a person. The realization that we have distanced ourselves as adults was quite profound to me. Yes, we have outreach and ministries and offerings, which are extremely valuable - but let's come out from behind those safe little boxes for a moment and remember that it is people's lives we are getting involved in.
Many hands have made the things you will see at the Gifts of Hope Fair, and many hands will use the goats, rabbits, chickens, pigs (and maybe even a water buffalo) that you may generously provide. Those hands each belong to to a unique individual, with a name, a family, a talent or skill, and a million other attributes. Imagine that in your mind, as a child does---or better yet, with your child - and give thanks for the opportunity to help someone else's family legacy. This can sometimes feel awkward for us adults (and by us, I mean me) - but I am suggesting that we need to more purposely present our children with things like these that make us uncomfortable, lest we squander their curiosity to learn about all God's children, in all places. Let's build their courage and excitement in doing that, and ours is sure to follow. It's a legacy worth passing on.
"If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing." 1 Corinthians 13:3