December 1, 2011

31 Days of Goodwill–December’s Challenge

31 Days of Goodwill

December’s challenge is here, and I’ll be the first to say that it feels like September just ended.  How December crept right on up and stole the spotlight, I’ll never know – but it’s time to get focused, because I’d really like to make this one count:

Here’s your RE-CAP and you can sign up below with Mr. Linky.  Just remember that you can motivate others – (chain reaction, my people!)  – to do the same.  Blogging about your own thoughts and accomplishments with these monthly challenges really does encourage others – so don’t be afraid!  I for one love seeing how others are tackling these challenges!

December’s Challenge is a tricky one. For this month, our family will be finding FOUR WAYS to show GOODWILL that will impact 1. our neighbors, 2. our community, 3. our church, 4. our world. Let me explain.  

First, I’ll start by telling you that I LOVE {love} LOVE Christmas. Always have. Probably always will. But there is a big difference in the way Anton would prefer to celebrate and the way I would prefer to celebrate. I would like all of the nostalgia; perfect tree, carols and eggnog with dear friends, stocking hung by the chimney with care, plate of cookies for Santa with a side of carrot for the reindeer, snow on Christmas morning, too many presents, lots of family, and spiral cut ham falling off the bone by 4pm. He would prefer quiet, contemplative reflection about what our Savior came to do. (ouch) So we have spent many Christmases (twelve to be exact) bantering gently about our positions on Christmas. And we’ve always compromised for a little bit of my style and a little bit of his. Except…
Except it’s starting to get to me a little bit. For starters, Christmas décor is up in stores by Halloween. That’s just pitiful – even to this diehard Christmas fan. It reeks of money, doesn’t it? Second, I felt a little bit convicted last year when my kids were buried neck high in wrapping paper and bows and ribbons, and were far too cranky and overwhelmed to enjoy an ounce of what they had received. Reeks of consumerism, doesn’t it? Third, I think it’s been happening to me for a while now that I lose sight of this every year. I go into December saying “I’m not doing that this year…we’re toning it down” and yet somehow Christmas Eve arrives with a bit of a chagrin from both of us – it’s happened again. We I went overboard. Reeks of “self”, doesn’t it? We rush through the season – head to parties – see relatives – over shop – over eat – over indulge…and then it’s over. And sometimes we have missed the whole point.
So all I’m saying, is I’m taking four baby-steps back to the meaning of Christmas – which for our family is all about a wonderful gift that had no bow, no wrapping, but cost more than money could ever purchase. The birth, life, love and forgiveness of a perfect lamb…Jesus. 
Now, I realize, that may not be your personal conviction – but it certainly lends me to want more out of Christmas for my kids than a frenzy of desire, followed by inevitable meltdowns. No, I want more for them. I want more for us. Does this mean we won’t decorate a tree or hang a stocking or sip eggnog? No. However, this does mean that this year we are going to find FOUR WAYS to spread GOODWILL and try to reconnect to our fellow man – our neighbors, our community, our church family, and yes – even to our world. Each act will take a different form, and I’m not sure what that will look like – it could be caroling to our neighbors and delivering cookies, serving food at the local shelter, volunteering in Children’s church, and sponsoring an orphanage in Africa. I don’t know. But I have hope that with each act, we will have a little part of restoring the brotherhood of mankind…just enough to wet our heart for more.

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