I tuned in to Ann Voskamp’s Christmas at the Farm web cast Thursday.
Her farmhouse was beautifully decorated for Christmas. Not in a loud, brash manor but elegantly simple like our Savior. A manger sat upon pine boughs splayed across the mantle, candles glowing on either side. An upside down Jesse Tree hung form the ceiling adorned with ornments from her newest book The Greatest Gift. Homemade treats were displayed before Ann and Liz Curtis Higgs, looking every so yummy.
The simplicity of her farm, the passion in she and Liz’s voices as they told about our Savior got me excited about Christmas. Not your usual Christmas–hustle and bustle of shopping, overspending, stress–a simple Christmas. A Christmas centered on Christ and the gift that has already been given–our Savior.
When did we turn our Savior’s birth into a three ring circus? When did it become about us and so little about Christ? Why do we do it–overspend, overeat, overindulged? All done with good intentions, but perhaps, misjudgment.
What started out so beautifully simple has become almost enormously tacky. The first snowfall (pristine white glittering like diamonds) coats the ground in beauty. It falls heavy making road’s icy, it doesn’t stop, it continues to pile high. Before long the roads are treacherous, impassable, life threatening. How can this be–it started out beautifully simple?
Why do we do it–become caught up in the frenzy of it all? Perhaps, it has something to do with “monkey see, monkey do.” We see what others are doing and feel the pressure to do it too. Perhaps, we just want to show someone how much we love them and it snowballs into excess. Maybe we want to make someone happy or maybe we feel guilty if we don’t? Or perhaps, it’s a combination of them all?
Here’s the question, can all this stuff really make us happy? It seams to me the more we have the less content we are with what he have and the more we want. When we want more and more we loss sight of what really matters–God and people. It seems to me that our desire for more stuff doesn’t draw us closer to God, make us more of a servant, or make us humble. I believe it actually has, just, the opposite affect.
It seams to me, those who have very little are the most appreciative of all people. The following is an excerpt from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book Little House on the Prairie.
Then Ma said, “You may look now, girls.”
Something was shining bright in the top of Laura’s stocking. She squealed and jumped out of bed. So did Mary, but Laura beat her to the fireplace. And the shining was a glittering new tin cup.
Mary had one exactly like it.
These new tin cups were their very own. Now they each had a cup to drink out of. Laura jumped up and down and shouted and laughed, but Mary stood still and looked with shining eyes at her own tin cup.
Then they plunged their hands into the stockings again. And they pulled out two long, long sticks of candy. It was peppermint candy, striped red and white. They looked and looked at the beautiful candy, and Laura licked her stick, just one lick. But Mary was not so greedy. She didn’t take even one lick of her stick.
Those stockings weren’t empty yet. Mary and Laura pulled out two small packages. They unwrapped them, and each found a little heart-shaped cake. Over their delicate brown tops with sprinkled white sugar. The sparkling grains lay like tiny drifts of snow.
The cake was too pretty to eat. Mary and Laura just looked at them. But at last Laura turned hers over, and she nibbled a tiny nibble from underneath, where it wouldn’t show. And the inside of the little cake was white!
It had been made of pure white flour, and sweetened with white sugar.
Laura and Mary never would have looked in their stockings again. The cups and the cakes and the candy were almost too much. They were too happy to speak. But Ma asked if they were sure the stockings were empty.
Then they put their hands down inside them, to make sure.
And in the very toe of each stocking was a shining bright, new penny!
They had never even thought of such a thing as having a penny. Think of having a cup and a cake and a stick of candy and a penny.
There never had been such a Christmas. Laura Ingalls Wider’s Little House on the Prairie.
One stick of candy, a white cake, a tin cup, and a shiny new penny brought tremendous joy to Laura and Mary. When one has almost nothing a gift of kindness can bring hope and encouragement to another’s heart. Many around the world have needs far greater than Mary and Laura. We can bring smiles to faces and hope to hearts by blessing others with a simple gift.
We can be the blessing–the hands and feet of Jesus–by giving a Gift of hope to someone less fortunate than ourselves. Simple Christmas.
If you would like to be the gift to someone truly in need this Christmas, World Help has many ways in which you may bless another. Your gift can show the love of Christ, feed the hungry, buy medicine for the sick, or perhaps even prevent someone from dying.
Let’s be the blessing, Kasey