Friday, October 3, 2014

Simple Faith for the Holidays {Day 3}

The holidays have always been a big deal for me. My father was a pastor and my mother a teacher so we celebrated each and every ounce of the seasons. We were a service kind of family, always working on projects that focused on serving others, and the holidays were the perfect time to reach out especially to those going through challenges.

This philosophy was solidified even more three years ago when our lives were completely turned upside down. Not only were we in a spot of losing almost everything we owned, but we were now without a home. Not having a home base completely shifted my thinking and it was a very unsettling place to be. The holiday traditions and special celebrations we looked forward to each year were now mute because surviving day to day was more important.

That was the first year without the fall festivities, the Halloween celebrations, the Thanksgiving dinner or our traditional homemade Christmas feast and it was my first winter without a coat. When I said we lost almost all of our possessions, that included clothes and shoes.

But that first year offered so much more than tangible things. Each and every day meant looking at life through the eyes of faith because otherwise the view was pretty hopeless. It meant depending on God for each and every need and the belief that He was going to get us through to the other side.

We didn't have much help from others because most people didn't understand what we were going through and sadly I began to realize that most really didn't want to know. It made them feel vulnerable and uncomfortable because our situation brought the idea too close that if it happened to us, it could happen to them too. And so we plugged along feeling quite alone and very discouraged.

Then something changed. This new focus on the simple, small things helped us to remember why our celebrating traditions were so special. It's never been about the food, the gifts, the activities or even the home in which we live. It's about relationships and love and appreciating each day we've been given. It's about realizing who your tribe really is and being thankful for the ones that get you. It's about ministering to another's heart and reaching out to love those who might not be so easy to love.

This time confirmed that a Thanksgiving dinner from the McDonald's dollar menu could be a magical thing...that fashion is great, but having more than two shirts hanging in a closet is a blessing...that there's beauty in cleaning the kitchen because it means I'm cooking in a real kitchen again...that it's important to offer hospitality in my home to those who might be going though homelessness because it means I now have a place to rest my head...and last but not least...that stuff isn't important because simple really is better.

And so three years ago we were given a great gift for the holidays - a life overhaul that challenged us to see light among the darkness and move through our days in a different way...a simpler way...a deeper way...and we've never been the same ;)

I hope you'll join us again tomorrow for Day 4 of our Simple Handmade Holiday series.

In Gratitude,

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