The day after Christmas: A quiet, stay in our pajamas kind of day. A day to reflect, to rest, to bask in God’s goodness. One I always look forward to.
Someone asked the question on effbook, “How was your Christmas everyone?”
Our family opened presents two days before the Big Day. We intentionally wanted this much anticipated event done and out of the way. The three younger kids each got a new outfit for their Build-a-Bear, some Legos, and their favorite truffles. No more, no less. And guess what? They were perfectly happy and grateful. We didn’t even spend a penny on batteries, can you believe it? It really doesn’t take much to make this bunch happy.
Okay, so there were some arguing on who gets to play with what pieces, but pretty much it was hours and hours of creative play (and ahem, sugar) and no desire for electronic time… at all.
Christmas Eve: The children were anxious, not because of any more presents they still expect to receive, but because it’s the day before the Special One. “Tomorrow is Jesus’ birthday!” the little guy announced. We read lots of Christmas books. Popcorn and hot cocoa. Late night watching Star Wars- the present they got for daddy, which the four-year-old carefully wrapped and wrote daddy’s name on.
Christmas morning: We began the day with prayer, and family communion- an excellent suggestion from our beloved pastor. We embraced a new Christmas ritual.
Salvation is here. It rang in my soul and I held it as treasure in my heart.
The younger girls had been faithfully memorizing a chunk of Luke 2, and they recited it together for us for the first time. Preparations for the day ensued, and anticipation grew. Christmas carols. Games. A whole day with cousins, what could be better? The children didn’t open a single present but envelopes with money. Yet they had so much fun and agreed it’s the best Christmas ever. (They say that every year.)
The day after: One of the kids wants to know, what ten percent of what they got would be.
Mail we’ve been anticipating from the orphanage came and someone squealed with delight as she opened the letters from our dear foster friends. “Mommy, Lerma has grown so much!!!”
I sat the little guy in my lap and asked him what he wants to get with some of the money he received. His instant reply? Send it to Voice of Martyrs and to Katie.
Friends, I. feel. so. blessed. Beyond measure.
Then I ordered some more Legos…
How did the 25 Days of Random Acts of Kindness Go?
I could not recall ever doing a project as a family lasting 25 days, but random kindness acts we did, looking for opportunities everyday, and everywhere we go. It became the most blessed thing we have done together during Advent (over listening to Handel’s Messiah!)
In their effort to be well prepared, the kids asked to buy different items/treats to bless people on their list. But there were also days when they looked for ways to be a blessing and to be of help which didn’t involve money or tangible things at all. Those turned out to be the most amazing, as we reflected now.
And look, another family tradition in the making:
We were blessed to overwhelming with all the smiling faces, the many thanks, the kind words from strangers, and the number of people who paused to drop money in the red kettle. A guy even emptied his pocket.
For two solid hours, the kids didn’t stop ringing the bells. They were so tired after, the little guy fell asleep as soon as we got on the bus. We worked them hard, I guess. That was Day 4.
One day particularly stood out: Realizing how blessed they are, and that there are many, many less fortunate children all over the world they could share their blessings with (in this case, Uganda) — each gave the money they had. Sacrificially. Oh they make us so proud.
There was also a day when one of them commented, “Oh no, we forgot to do random kindness two days in a row!” I had to remind them of things they did- in which they didn’t even realize were acts of kindness.
We were transformed. Truly our Advent celebrations will never be the same. Blessings to all of you!
Last minute ideas. Pardon me, I seem to thrive on those. I was revisiting Ann Voskamp’s Jesse Tree devotional, and as I was reading, I thought, I’d like to change things up a bit for the family this year. Still wanting to keep it simple, yet I yearn to personalize the “unwrapping His love in the world” part, and the phrase random act of kindness keeps popping up in my head.
So mother hen gathered all the chicks to see what they think. Of course, good chicks that they are, unanimously agreed it is a brilliant idea. Therefore, it was last minute decided that we, as a family, are doing 25 Days of Random Kindness, starting tomorrow- December 1st.
And this last minute blog post is my best attempt to share it with you. Random, I tell you! The kids and I came up with a good list of what we would like to do, (and yes, we are bell ringing downtown early next week!) but to be honest, we have yet to come up with more ideas. I am very excited though- not only in blessing others, but to see the fruits this will bear in our very own hearts! We’ll try our best to keep you updated and share what we’ve been up to.
Here’s to 25 Days of Random Kindness. Hope you could join us:)
The photo above was taken a few weeks ago when we “visited” this precious church on the corner. Visited in quotation marks because we ended up staying- for good. Indeed a new chapter for us, truly an exciting one, an unfamiliar road that we know in our hearts without a doubt, is the predestined one for us. It is God who brought us to this place and we are humbled and amazed at what He is doing for us and through us in the process.
To all our church friends we haven’t had a chance to be connected with- we have not disappeared off the face of the earth. We are here! Things happened fast (sharp turn on the corner, yes) but we know in our hearts the timing is all. over. right. It is definitely a God thing and we are grateful that He led us here.
Oh, and this gatekeeper post? It’s making a lot more sense to me now. God’s ways never seize to amaze me!
In total surrender.
On moving day-
Two awesome College Muscle Movers took care of the first load. One and a half hours later, all furniture, books and heavier items were loaded and unloaded in the new house. Yep, one and a half hours, folks. One and half miles away. That was awesome!
But then we weren’t done. We still had a truckload of smaller items to go. Now back for the second load-
Can you tell who’s in charge?
and felt right at home here.
A week later-
We’re all unpacked and the muscle boxes were picked up. And finally, the internet guy came. Boy, we were all glad to see him!
And it feels just right.
preparing for a class i’m teaching tomorrow-
on memorizing scriptures.
the house was quiet and i was able to do my planning without any interruption. priceless.
we loosely made plans to go out exploring today-
but other than a few errands this morning, lunch date with the girls, appointments (hubby), we didn’t do much. it was still a very good day.
then hubby took the kids biking, aliyah went to a friend’s house, and i was gifted with a quiet house.
do you know what a quiet house does to an introvert?
i rest. i recharge. i get inspired. i function better.
so much for photo a day.
but i’m feeling better today, the house looks a bit manageable, and my attitude is better.
yes, in that order. so here i am:)
Yeah, right. We’ll be back in a few days.
These rented no-fuzz boxes sure make packing fun. I’m just thankful not to deal with all the taping and the flimsy boxes and such.
We welcome this move as another positive challenge, something we didn’t wrestle with, so more than anything, we (including the kids) are plain excited.
Our motto: less is more.
I’m thinking to invite you in the whole process. That’s the idea, at least. We’ll see:)
a journal and a few good pens
pencil roll with various microns and prismacolors
(all tucked in an accessible, portable lined basket)
a good cup of coffee (even when it’s hot outside.)
when i crave intimacy with my Creator-
i could find a quiet corner to hear heaven
i could close my eyes where i am, and pray,
i could grab my quiet time companions–
to dig in His Word and journal away,
or when it’s necessary do all three.