Once upon a time there was a Christmas tree in this spot in our family room. This year there is a fern and a view of the backyard partially blocked by a pile of firewood with a cat perched a top. This year we decided not to purchase a Christmas tree. Gasp! Horrors! Not because we are stingy and scrooge-like though. I recently read THIS and was reminded again whose birthday it was anyway. Now it was too late to forgo gift giving altogether, although it will still be a simple Christmas around here with the kids receiving only one gift each but it wasn't too late to give Jesus his gift.
We decided that instead of buying a Christmas tree this year we would use the money for something that would last much longer. Something like maybe warm clothes for children in Albania, food for children in Somalia, or a share of a well. The kids are all for it. They know what is important. Naomi is often praying for the poor without even being prompted and her prayers are many times quite profound. Last winter she prayed for a person somewhere in the world who only had one mitten and whose other hand was cold. She is always trying to figure out how we can help the poor in the world and comes up with some pretty interesting ways to do that, like how to get 2 gallons of milk to Argentina. That girl is going to be a mover and a shaker someday.
So this Christmas as we look at the vacant spot where a tree once stood we are happy knowing what that emptiness represents. Food, clean water, clothing, or possibly even matching mittens. It's really such a small sacrifice in light of all He has done for us.
"And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’"