Before I get into this blog post, I thought I’d share another blog written by Lori Janzen. Her and Harold are traveling through South America and you can catch up to her musings here: https://lorijanzen.wordpress.com
The blog is aptly named Busy Being Free. The difference being of course, you can choose when and where you want to be busy and when you just want to sit on a beach and listen to the rhythm of the waves. Anyway, if you’re interested in checking out a different part of the world check it out.
So, Christmas is coming…it feels different at this stage of life. Young kids add an excitement to the season with programs, visits to Santa, figuring out what to surprise them with without breaking the bank. When they’re older and out of the house, it’s mostly trying to schedule who will be where and when. Not saying one stage is better than the other, just different.
With the busyness of life in general, the challenge for me is to make time to remember the reason for the season. A good place to start for me personally is to read through the four gospel accounts of the birth of Christ and beyond. It helps bring things back into perspective.
It’s easy to get swept up in the bombardment of ads extolling the latest and greatest next thing you absolutely HAVE to have. Our trips to Nicaragua have given us the opportunity to see things through a different window. People with so much less than we have. We don’t consider ourselves rich by any means, but by comparison, we live like royalty. It gives one a chance to take a step back and look at our level of contentment. There’s an old saying that goes something like, “How could you be happy with more if you’re not happy with what you already have?”
We visited a village buy the name of Zapote on one of our visits. The dwellings were essentially poles stuck in the ground wrapped with plastic and sheet metal for a roof. Our friend we visit there, stopped at one of these dwellings to say hello to the family that lived there. It struck me that as we visited, they offered us food and drink even though that would mean cutting into what they had portioned for themselves for that day. You see they don’t have refrigeration in their home. That’s why they make regular trips to the market to get what they need for the next couple of days. Or….supper could be one of the chickens running around the yard. Offering what they had just seemed to come naturally. No matter if that meant less for them.
In this picture our friend Patrick Hiebert is in the middle surrounded by the smiling faces of the children playing in the area. One of them pointed to me in this picture and called me Santa. I guess there’s a bit of a resemblance 😉
We heard a message this morning about investing our gifts in areas that would make a difference. This is what Patrick is doing. He’s making a difference. He’s part of a foundation called Help Them Help Themselves. Through this, he’s helped build a school, bring playground equipment in and more recently has built a much needed clinic. The clinic is built but not running yet. They still need funding to get that stage finished. Here’s a link to their web page if you want to find out more: http://helpthemhelpthemselves.org
What am I doing that’s helping someone else? We watched Dr Strange last night and there was a moment of realization for the main character when he was told, “It’s not all about you.” I believe that when we come to realize it’s not all about us, but rather looking for opportunities to help others that we can find that inner peace those folks in Zapote had. Sometimes that means taking a risk. Sometimes that risk doesn’t always work out. Sometimes we may not feel we get the thanks we deserve. But then, it’s not all about us is it?
So the challenge is to have your eyes and ears open for opportunities. Not just now at Christmas, but all year round. Life keeps us busy, so sometimes we miss the signs. I would like to encourage us to slow things down, take a look around and maybe ask ourselves if there’s something we can do to make a difference.
Merry Christmas everyone….