Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Channeling the Blessings

opening gifts last year
Advent. Waiting. Anticipating. Longing.

Christmas. Receiving. Giving. Thanking.

Receiving, before giving? Yes, and that is how it ought to be. God, giver of all good things, blesses His children. And then we, as faithful channels of blessings, give, out of all His bounty, to those in need.

We are working on what that looks like for us this Christmas. But one way we're doing that this year is through our advent envelopes. Our little guys open one Advent envelope each day with a special Christmas Mission to accomplish. Here is our list this year, more missional than last year, they are listed in reverse order:

1. Open Christmas eve gift
2. Hand out food to homeless in Philadelphia.
3. Make paper snowflakes.
4. Go to Barnes and Noble story time.
5. Uganda: have a family game night and buy Christmas outfits
6. Have an indoor picnic by the Christmas tree
7. Bake Christmas cookies.
8. Make a Christmas card for someone.
9. Have a Christmas movie playdate. Share the true meaning of Christmas with your friends.
10. Make a gingerbread house.
11. Have cinnamon buns for breakfast
12. Sweden: St Lucia. Dec 13 Donate canned goods to local food pantry.**
13. Treat with Grammy and Poppy
14. Make a Christmas centerpiece.
15. Have a Christmas music dance party
16. Philippines: make a Parol star lantern.**
17. Give a dollar to the Salvation Army bucket.
18. Do something kind for someone
19. Australia: sing Christmas carols by candlelight under the stars.**
20. Go to Chick-fil-a for dinner and play in the play room
21. Color a Christmas picture
22. Watch a Christmas movie
23. Guatemala: set up the nativity**
24. Sort through toys & donate to the needy
25. Send a care package to a missionary family.
26. Germany: Decorate the Christmas tree**
27. Visit with Grandma Laurie and Grambo

I've been reading Living Fellowship, by Helen Roseveare, in which she beautifully illustrates our role in the world.  She felt led to open a leprosy clinic in addition to the overwhelming work she was already doing, and reluctantly obeyed the Spirit's prompting.  The bill was more than three times her monthly allowance (4320 Belgian Congo francs) and she had no idea how God would provide.  They prayed every day that God would supply the needed funds.  The last day of the month came and went, and all bills needed to be settled.  Feeling as though God had let her down, she did not know what to do.

"As I was returning home, Aunzo met me excitedly.  Waving a brown manila envelope he blurted out that another missionary had received our mail.  It had arrived yesterday.  "Perhaps, perhaps it is the money for the medicines for our clinic!"

We opened the envelope together and drew out the enclosed money and the statement of account from my field-leader.  Aunzo piled and counted the money; I looked at the account.  The total came to 4800 Belgian Congo francs.  The tithe of that would be 480 francs, leaving 4320 francs- the exact sum needed.  I could hardly believe it.  I looked at the names of the donors and realised that two of the three gifts had taken three or four months to reach me.  Then I saw that they were labeled, "This is for your leprosy work" and yet, when they mailed their gifts and designated them I had not even intended opening a leprosy clinic!  The way of God are very wonderful and beyond the comprehension of men.

I felt awed to be the recipient of such prayerfully given gifts, where the donors were in such close touch with God that He could tell them exactly of the needs before I myself knew them.  Truly they were spokes in God's wheel, channeling God's gifts to me as their part of the rim and they certainly entered deeply into fellowship with me in the work God had given me to do."

How can He use you this Christmas to be a channel of His blessing to those in need??

**For the countries in bold we are reading about how Christmas is celebrated in other parts of the world, using Christmas Around the World by Mary D Lankford

4 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing how you are sharing the Advent season with your children. What a beautiful idea!

    ReplyDelete
  2. What an incredible story. It strengthens and warms my heart!
    To recieve so that we can give.
    To cup our hands empty for His plenty so we can go share our abundance with those less fortunate.
    This is a perfect way to see Christmas.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The Advent envelopes are a GREAT idea that would help our Els understand the passage of time and anticipate with excitement EACH day, not just biding time for THE day (the 25th).

    ReplyDelete

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