With everything going on this yr, I wanted to somehow find a way to teach my children that Christmas isn't all about world posessions-- toys and candy and of course COOKIES. So for FHE this week, I read the kids the story about Santa telling the guy to teach the children (story posted at the bottom) and explained to them what the symbols of Christmas mean. And I wanted to mainly focus on the giving- not the receiving part. I think they enjoyed it. So on Tuesday, I contacted a safe house/homeless shelter in Nashville and asked if my family could come in and bring some things and also take a tour and learn about what goes on in the shelter and how it helps and affects others.
So I had the kids go through their old toys and I went through clothes and shoes and *sniff sniff* my bags as well as a bunch of food Ive gotten lately with my new coupon addiction. We collected a lot and on Wednesday took it all to the shelter. They were very grateful and the lady took us around and explained that this was a family shelter and each family that comes in has a small bedroom for all of them. And how they go to this place when they have absolutely no where else to go. She said that one lady had contacted them because her and her children were sleeping in the TRUNK of their car because she was scared to sleep in the back seat. It was absolutely heart breaking. But we left feeling so good that we were able to help play a small part in some families lives and look forward to being able to help them out more in the future. We plan to do this and other acts of service in the upcoming years. It made me realize how lucky we actually are. These people have no where to go.. we have 2 homes to go to! These children have no clothes and shoes and we were able to round up boxes of extra clothes and shoes to give them! They have no toys and Reese was able to give them one of his FIVE lightsabers. They have no food and I was able to go into our food closet and pull out boxes of stuff that Ive gotten for free over the last few weeks (thank you coupons and b1g1 at Publix!).
So this is a great reminder to me when I'm feeling down in the dumps about our situation that we actually are rich because we have each other. Money may be tight and we may be struggling to sell our house and our kids are wearing hand me down clothes but we are happy and healthy and have a roof over our heads, food in the fridge, presents under the tree and we have the love of our family.
Merry Christmas Eve everyone!!!!
(if anyone in the area is looking for a place to volunteer or to donate gently used items, check out http://www.safehaven.org/)
Just a week before Christmas I had a visitor. This is how it happened...I just finished the household chores for the night and was preparing to go to bed, when I heard a noise in the front of the house. I opened the door to the front room and to my surprise, Santa himself stepped out from behind the Christmas tree.
He placed his finger over his mouth so I would not cry out. "What are you doing?" I started to ask. The words choked up in my throat, and I saw he had tears in his eyes. His usual jolly manner was gone.
Gone was the eager, boisterous soul we all know. He then answered me with a simple statement. "TEACH THE CHILDREN!" I was puzzled; what did he mean?
He anticipated my question, and with one quick movement brought forth a miniature toy bag from behind the tree. As I stood bewildered, Santa said, "Teach the children! Teach them the old meaning of Christmas. The meaning that now-a-days Christmas has forgotten."
Santa then reached in his bag and pulled out a FIR TREE and placed it before the mantle. "Teach the children that the pure green color of the stately fir tree remains green all year round, depicting the everlasting hope of mankind, all the needles point heavenward, making it a symbol of man's thoughts turning toward heaven."
He again reached into his bag and pulled out a brilliant STAR. "Teach the children that the star was the heavenly sign of promises long ago. God promised a Savior for the world, and the star was the sign of fulfillment of His promise."
He then reached into his bag and pulled out a CANDLE. "Teach the children that the candle symbolizes that Christ is the light of the world, and when we see this great light we are reminded of He who displaces the darkness."
Once again he reached into his bag and removed a WREATH and placed it on the tree. "Teach the children that the wreath symbolizes the real nature of love. Real love never ceases. Love is one continuous round of affection."
He then pulled from his bag and ornament of HIMSELF. "Teach the children that I, Santa Claus symbolize the generosity and good will we feel during the month of December."
He then brought out a HOLLY LEAF. "Teach the children that the holly plant represents immortality. It represents the crown of thorns worn by our Savior. The red holly represents the blood shed by Him."
Next he pulled from his bag a GIFT and said, "Teach the children that God so loved the world that he gave..." "Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift. Teach the children that the wise men bowed before the holy babe and presented him with gold, frankincense and myrrh. We should always give gifts in the same spirit of the wise men."
Santa then reached in his bag and pulled out a CANDY CANE and hung it on the tree. "Teach the children that the candy cane represents the shepherds' crook. The crook on the staff helps to bring back strayed sheep to the flock. The candy cane is the symbol that we are our brother's keeper."
He reached in again and pulled out an ANGEL. "Teach the children that it was the angels that heralded in the glorious news of the Savior's birth. The angels sang Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace and good will toward men."
Suddenly I heard a soft twinkling sound, and from his bag he pulled out a BELL. "Teach the children that as the lost sheep are found by the sound of the bell, it should ring mankind to the fold. The bell symbolizes guidance and return."
Santa looked back and was pleased. He looked back at me and I saw that the twinkle was back in his eyes. He said, "Remember, teach the children the true meaning of Christmas and do not put me in the center, for I am but a humble servant of the One that is, and I bow down to worship Him, our Lord, our God."