Thursday, November 8, 2012

My Christmas Crisis of Conscience...

First off let me just state for the record, I really do love Christmas.  I especially love Christmas in The Salvation Army.  I enjoy the bell ringing and the time we have with our bell ringers, I enjoy the hustle and bustle of the season, the snowy days, the warmth of fellowship, and most of all focusing on what the birth of a tiny baby means to me and to the world.


If I am to be honest, as my blog title says, I must say every year I suffer a crisis of conscience at this time of year. I'm sure that there will be people who are outraged by my confession and there will be some who will be relieved that someone finally had the courage to say it.

Here goes......

I really struggle with toy distribution. There I said it. God hasn't struck me dead and the earth seems to still be spinning. Before you write me off and condemn be to the eternal fires of you know where hear me out.

My struggle is with the excess of it all. Every year I stand amongst piles and piles of toys that represent thousands and thousands of dollars and I can't help but think of children around the world.  There are children in our world today who truly are living in poverty, who are in need of food and medicine for survival, shoes to protect their feet, and even clean water. And truly if we are honest with ourselves, even the poor in this country are wealthy compared to standards of other countries.

Are we really meeting a true need with those toys? I do know that there are some who come through and are very grateful to receive those gifts for their children. But what if we could do something else instead. What if we could really met the true needs of some of the families that we serve? The needs of the families that we serve oftentimes are far more complex than food or medicine. The families that we serve are many times broken by divorce or an absentee parent, addiction, abuse, chronic poverty, mental illness, the list goes on and on.

It all just seems like too much. How can a toy meet those needs?

Short answer is it can't.

But maybe, just maybe when they come in to fill out their application or pick up their toys they will see Jesus.  Maybe they will see Jesus through the kindness and love of a volunteer who is being patient with them when they are demanding. Maybe they will see Jesus in person who helps them to their car in the cold and snow. Maybe they'll see Jesus in the person who plays with their little one so they can pick out the toys. Maybe they'll see Jesus on the face of their little one who is truly excited to have been thought of on Christmas day. Maybe they'll see Jesus....

We live in a land of excess. The needs we see aren't always quick fixes and maybe the toys we give out aren't the answer to the need but merely the vehicle to the real answer.

Maybe, just maybe they'll see Jesus.

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