“zealous of good works.”(Tit.2:14)
A sign along our road admonishes drivers passing by to be zealous of good works. For me, good works often means giving, and nothing incites the zealotry of giving in me quite like Christmas does. I know neighbors may drive by our work-in-progress home and see piles of construction debris and cars that are humble (but paid in full) and may think of us as those poor people. But what others can't see is that we have so much more than many other people do, and we are actually so rich that my heart aches to hear of others who have a need or have nothing. So, without any advanced planning, I embarked on my own personal twelve days of zealotry. Each day for the past ten days or so I have tried to give charitably or do a good work with the idea of giving for the sake of giving. It started out very easily. After all, this time of year there are an abundance of organizations collecting food, clothes, toys...it was practically impossible not to give something! Our mail box regularly overflows with donation requests from various ministries we have supported, and it seems so overwhelming, the needs that exist in this world. Some days the only thing you can do is pray about it and ask God to use us to meet those needs. It doesn't make the burden of wanting to help go away, but it does ease it.
One day, the only thing I could give was the simple gift of helping a woman find a few books at the library. She was so excited when I showed her where they were on the shelf that she grabbed my hands and thanked me so profusely it was almost embarrassing. "You've made my Christmas!" she said. And then she apologized to have bothered me to begin with. "You're not bothering me, it's my job!" I told her. It was a reminder that I often have a chance to give to someone just by doing my daily routine, though I admit it often does not come easily to me, and I am not always a cheerful giver or do-er.
But I have found my days of intentional giving to be an enormous blessing, and a contagious one, too. The more I give, the more I want to give more. And the more I see others give, the more I want to follow in their steps.
Around the Home: We have had two feet of snow dumped on us, and the wind was so cold it was even hard to keep our food on the table warm. We have enjoyed "decorating" for the season as we usually do, by tacking Christmas cards to our bare studded walls. I love seeing those Christmas messages from far away friends. On our snow day, I accomplished all of my Christmas cookie baking, making dozens of gingerbread men and my own personal favorite: oatmeal cookies with white chocolate chips and cranberries. Oh, delicious!
Some months ago, someone asked me as a favor whether I could make a doll dress for a friend of theirs. The catch was that there was not a pattern or even measurements of the doll, they just gave me an old dress to copy that was so worn that the fabric was discolored and the elastic spent. I gave it my best try...
I think it turned out sweet. Hopefully it fits, or that doll will have to go on a diet!