22 December 2014

What Do I Want for Christmas?

I want the starving children fed--in my own little town, among the membership of the LDS church, and throughout the whole world 

I want the orphans, dependent upon the generosity of others, provided for.

I want the exploited rescued, and to have safe places for them to sleep and learn. 

I want the street children in Manilla, abandoned by their destitute parents who simply couldn't feed them, to have the basic things they need: shoes, school supplies, regular meals, combs, toothbrushes, a shower to use, and a safe place to sleep.

My family is operating under a tighter budget than we ever have had to before. We are living in the least square foot per person we have ever lived. And yet, compared to so, so many, even in our own little community, we are wealthy. We have a lovely little home. We have decent beds to sleep in. We have all the first world conveniences we want: cars that run reliably, gas to run them, washer & dryer, dishwasher, heat, air conditioning, electricity, running water, hot water, a roof that doesn't leak, and our floors aren't made of dirt. (Although sometimes during mud season the mats inside the front door might fool you for a minute.)

My children have a family that loves them, and a safe place to grow and learn. Contrast that with the early life of one of my best friends, who was born into prostitution to a sex-trafficked mother, and rescued at eight years old, after her mother's death, by God working an absolute miracle in the Canadian court system.

My children are well-fed, and are in no danger of suffering from the debilitating or deadly effects of malnutrition, unlike 80,000+ active LDS children in the world, and too many in my little town.

My husband and I love one another. Our marriage is strong--strong because we have learned to forgive, and are learning how to grow, both together and alongside one another. 

We definitely have our share of difficulties and trials. We are given weaknesses, after all, that the Lord may show forth His strength in us. But our basic needs are met. The Lord will continue to provide. I just wish we had endless income, so I could feed and clothe and house every cold, hungry, lonely soul.
      11 Wherefore, I must tell you the truth according to the plainness of the word of God. For behold, as I inquired of the Lord, thus came the word unto me, saying: Jacob, get thou up into the temple on the morrow, and declare the word which I shall give thee unto this people.
      12 And now behold, my brethren, this is the word which I declare unto you, that many of you have begun to search for gold, and for silver, and for all manner of precious ores, in the which this land, which is a land of promise unto you and to your seed, doth abound most plentifully.
      13 And the hand of providence hath smiled upon you most pleasingly, that you have obtained many riches . . .
      14 And now, my brethren, do ye suppose that God justifieth you in this thing? Behold, I say unto you, Nay. But he condemneth you, and if ye persist in these things his judgments must speedily come unto you.
      15 O that he would show you that he can pierce you, and with one glance of his eye he can smite you to the dust!
      16 O that he would rid you from this iniquity and abomination. And, O that ye would listen unto the word of his commands, and let not this pride of your hearts destroy your souls!
      17 Think of your brethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your substance, that they may be rich like unto you.
      18 But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God.
      19 And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted. (Jacob 2)
We don't have riches. But to those who might . . . please consider those who not only don't have riches, but suffer hunger and cold.
      34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
      35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
      36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
      37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
      38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
      39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
      40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:40)

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I welcome questions and concerns--they are most often what spur us closer to the truth. I only ask that we all give everyone the most generous benefit of the doubt, assigning the best motives possible. A soft answer truly does turn away wrath, and an atmosphere of Jesus's love is the best for learning, no matter which side of a discussion you're on.

Thanks so much, and God bless you!