This time of the year always reminds me how many people are less fortunate than I. And I mean in more ways than just what I have or possess. I also mean in the way of family, support and general love. I have so much of those things surrounding me, it truly is a miracle.
But even though that aspect stands out to me as well, it’s the “stuff” that really gets to me. From large, fancy homes, to refrigerators stocked with organic foods and fresh-enough water coming from the tap, there is abundance all around me and in my community. But there is also so much less, just blocks away from where I live.
I reside in a nice home that I adore and still, sometimes I want more. It seems that is how human nature tends to work. I know people who have and live in “more” that I do. Sometimes I cannot help but be envious of what they have, but then I remember I need to be thankful for every good gift I have been given. I remember how there are millions of people that do not have access to the things that I do. And my heart breaks.
Therefore, I go the opposite direction. I think about what it would be like to get rid of most of the things I have and live in smaller place. I ponder what it would be like to not eat out so much and make fewer, if any trips to Target. I think about how there are SO few people with so much (especially in this country) and SO VERY MANY people who have so little. I wonder where the balance is. I wonder how I myself can make it better.
Do I anticipate getting rid of most of my things and moving any time soon? No, I do not. I am using this month to clean out and get rid of things we do not need or use, which I plan to donate to a local charity. I wish I could give more of my time and money to those who are in need. I often wish I could spend the majority of my time helping others in some way.
But this isn’t just about me and my stuff. This is also about you and your neighbors and your friends, and even your family. This is about all of us humbling ourselves enough to realize how many truly needy people are out there. I do not begrudge anyone their “things”, mainly because I am sure for the most part, they have worked hard for them. Yes, that gorgeously-decorated home is yours for the keeping (as long as you can truly afford it). But I ask that maybe this holiday season instead of buying yet another gift for your kids, or another half-eaten party platter for that holiday party, you give what you would spend on that to someone in need. It’s one of the easiest things we can do this time of year.
I have to encourage myself to do things like this too. I love to spend money on myself, my kids and my home, I won’t lie. But I also get so much joy from spending it on other people, even strangers, when I do.
The Big Man Upstairs humbled himself all the time. I believe we can do the same. Let your heart be your guide and know that some of the best gifts are received BY giving. Trust me on this.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to help:
Compassion International (I sponsor two children)
Catholic Charities (large supporter of poverty in the world)
Heifer International (LOVE the principle of this charity)
It’s pretty easy to help…