my true love gave to me ~ an opportunity for serving.
This is kinda a new tradition. It's hard when kids are little to get them to understand the importance of serving others. Whenever I heard them say "I want ____ for Christmas" I would always counter it with "What are you going to GIVE at Christmas?"
We've usually made up a christmas hamper to go to another family, bake cookies for our neighbours, we get them to buy little gifts for each other, small acts of service that their minds can get around. We've sung at Nursing Homes with church and filled those Christmas shoe Boxes that go overseas.
However I'm always on the lookout for opportunities than can take them to to understand the *true* meaning of Christmas. A few years ago I googled and googled things that little children can do to serve others at Christmas. It was hard to find something. Many packing places, or soup kitchens don't allow children.
I've wanted to purchases a pig or a goat or some chickens for a family through Tear.org or Heifer.org for many years. The thought that a family somewhere may be provided for by a small donation from me warms my heart. But I don't have a credit card and keep putting it off.
I thought this was the year I was going to do it. The girls had chosen a $10 fish farm for a family.
However in the end we have ended up purchasing a hygiene kit that will go to the 139 Club at Fortitude valley. It cost 4 times the amount a fish farm cost but hopefully it will make someone feel better about themselves. The 139 club is a place that homeless people can come and wash their clothes, have a shower, have something to eat or a hot drink. They have up to 300 people a day go through.
The ladies at my church are aiming for 100 kits. They include shampoo and conditioner, soap, face washer, toothpaste and brush, bandaids, feminine hygiene products, deodorant, socks, washing powder etc.
So since I was going to be participating anyway I thought I would include the older girls and make this one of their service projects for Christmas. We went on a kinda mummy daughter date to get our hygiene kit.
I gave them the list. They looked over it. We went to the shops and I asked them to choose each product. It was a good learning curve for them to compare prices ( I said don't buy the cheapest brand, but not the most expensive either) and to examine what products they wanted to give.
When choosing bandaids they were very seriously studying them all and came to the conclusion that they had better buy the 'waterproof ones, because homeless people fall in the river often'. I couldn't stop laughing and asked them where they heard that?? (Possibly from a tarp house we used to pass by on the river) So a good discussion about why many people are homeless for a variety of reasons ensued. They were smart enough to remember a friend of ours whose house burnt down and that in a sense he was homeless. We talked about people having no family and no where to turn, people whose brains are a bit confused, people who have spent all their money, people whose house burns down, people who run away from bad parents, people on drugs.
When choosing deodorant it was a serious business of sniffing them. They declared the winner one that 'smelt like daddy' 'Yes this is the one we want' they said. Another debate ensued when I said that the deodorant had to be a roll on one. After many questions of why I told them so it couldn't be used as an inhalent. Another wonderful discussion on 'DRUGS (or similar) are BAD OKAY!"
As with most types of service often the person giving gets more than the person receiving.
I know this to be true.
Maybe we will make a big difference to someone who receives our toothpaste and shampoo.
Maybe we won't.
But we will have been changed by the opportunity to do so.