Because Christmas is Forever

It’s Jan. 23. Nearly a month after Dec. 25. I’m still finding random Christmas items around the house that should have been boxed up weeks ago.

Just yesterday I stashed away a pile of Christmas-themed picture books and board books. And we still have a healthy stash of candy canes and other stocking-stuffer sweets lingering on the kitchen counter.

I think part of me wants to celebrate Christmas again on some random day in February. Pull out the books and the music. Bake up those sugar cookies we never got around to making this year, and maybe whip up another batch of our favorite cinnamon rolls. Mmmmm…

One of my favorite authors, she says you can have the most hope after Christmas. She shares this conversation with her youngest daughter Shalom, who is the same age as my youngest daughter.

“Mama?” Shalom walks beside me, holding my hand. “Will tomorrow be Christmas too?”

I know that feeling. Not wanting any of this wonder to wander away — or me from it.

“Well, I’m thinking… ” I stop, look out across the fields and the white and the stars. “I’m thinking that it’s Christmas now forever.”

Her laughter rings all around us.

“Yes, Mama, yes!” She spins around in snow, in the halo of the barn light, us all under stars.

It is Christmas forever now — because Christ is always with us.”

I like the idea of Christmas forever, don’t you? Christ is always with us, and in John 14:23 He promises to make His home with us when we love Him and obey His teaching. Jesus calls us to love and serve one another, and He promises that we will be blessed by doing so. In fact, in John 15:14, He says we are His friends if we do what He commands.

So this year, as Jesus’ friends, we’re re-celebrating Christmas on Feb. 25 in a really big way. This celebration will include hope and food and gift-giving on an enormous scale, but we’ll skip the over-decorated balsam fir, homemade cinnamon rolls and sugar cookies.

On Feb. 25, our church family is teaming up with 10 other churches and three Minnesota organizations (Feed My Starving Children, Impact Lives and Kids Against Hunger) to package and send over 1 million highly nutritious meals to the Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya. Right now in the Horn of Africa, 12 million Ethiopians, Kenyans and Somalians are suffering through the worst drought in more than 50 years. The project is called the Hunger Initiative, and you can learn more about it at thehungerinitiative.org.

Friends, may I humbly offer a few wonderful ways for you — as Jesus’ friend — to join us in loving and serving these who are in such desperate need for food?

First, pray! This is a huge project with the potential of saving thousands of lives. Secondly, since it costs $50 to pack one box of food (about 216 meals), financial donations are needed and appreciated. You can click here to donate — our specific project is the Brookwood/Bridgewood/Oakwood – Feed My Starving Children project.

Or perhaps you might consider serving in a personal, long-term way by sponsoring a child in Ethiopia?

Two years ago our family began sponsoring Dawit (pictured above) through Children’s HopeChest. God has richly blessed us through the pictures and handwritten letters we have received from Dawit. And God is softening our hearts and our children’s hearts as we pray regularly for Dawit and his friends at Kind Hearts carepoint, as we send letters and care packages to him, and as we pray for the various mission teams and mission projects connected with Kind Hearts.

Trees of Glory is another Children’s HopeChest carepoint in Ethiopia, and it has several new children in need of sponsor families. Click here to learn more about this excellent child sponsorship program, coordinated by Karen Wistrom who blogs at Family from Afar.

Christ is with us, so let’s let the world know we are Christians by showing our love. Let’s celebrate Christmas forever!

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