Made for another world

"If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in the world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." C. S. Lewis

Monday, November 21, 2011

Living Thanks

As we approach this country's day set aside for giving thanks, I want to step away from my regular listing of blessings. Not because I'm ungrateful, quite the opposite. Instead I'm turning my attention away from my own overfed, plush life to vastly different ones. It's not hard for me to give thanks, in fact I regularly marvel at the sweetness of my life. Is that true of you also? I wonder if perhaps, at this time of year, we should enable needy ones to give thanks as well. What if our generosity could bolster the heart of a child that is truly deprived. Isn't an act of thanksgiving better than a word of thanksgiving anyway?
Eight years ago this January in a beautiful delivery room, fully staffed, and with every comfort I delivered my son. On that same day in Ecuador a woman gave birth to a little boy.  Two precious lives breathing air, meeting the world head on. One born to a life of advantage, the other to a life of struggle. But mercy had in mind the joining of those two lives, to fuse a new mercy.

For Max's first Christmas gift we sponsored Jefferson, that little boy born on Max's birthday in Ecuador. Jefferson was the only gift Max received from us his first Christmas. Even our richly blessed life had hit a speed bump, Chris was at a temporary job and we were living with my in-laws. Even so, our material blessings outweighed Jefferson's by far and we knew God had challenged us to step up. So we made a choice. Max would get toys from grandparents, but from us he would receive only the opportunity for years of perspective and compassion.
This year I'm remembering the day a pink bundle was laid in my arms. On the same day in Zambia a tiny brown bundle was laid in her mother's arms as well. My three year old Maggie and Harriet live worlds apart. Yet when I look at little Harriet's picture, her full lips and brown eyes ready to break into a grin, I think the girls would be friends in no time. This Christmas we're giving the gift of compassion to Harriet and the gift of perspective to Maggie.

My heart is full of memories this Thanksgiving. God's provision this year for my family is humbling and we praise him. More than anything I'm aware that I don't deserve God's goodness, it's pure and simply a gift. I could be the mother holding a baby I struggle to feed, not knowing who to call on to help me, it's only because of mercy that I'm not. So, this Thanksgiving instead of merely offering words of thanks lets offer actions as well. James 1:27 says, "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you."

As part of your Thanksgiving celebration I encourage you to include an action. Perhaps it's visiting an elderly person who is lonely, joining in a food drive, spending time in prayer for those in need, or buying a goat for a needy family through World Vision. Maybe you would like to take it one step further and make a commitment to sponsor a child all year long. Whether you're able to take a small step or large, allow mercy to intertwine your story with another, sharing the good gifts you've graciously received. If you're interested in sponsorship or a one time donation check out World Vision's website here.

I hope your week of Thanksgiving flows with sweet praise to our gracious God and actions that bless another! {Linking up with Ann Voskamp}

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