This Christmas season stirs up those thoughts every year. A humble stable with meager rations welcomes the very Lord of Life, Emmanuel.
It hangs in the air a bit longer this year.
He walked into his home. Sticks and mud with one concrete front wall announcing a step up in luxury. When the rains come he can rest assured that at least the front wall will still be there.
One hallway and 3 rooms. 2 plastic chairs. 1 bed. 1 bike, a few buckets and a meager supply of dishes. For a family of 5. 3 small kids. The parents sleep on the floor on a mat because the bed is for the kids. The cost of their whole home is equivalent to the change on our dresser.
This is not some kicked-puppy ad stirring up temporal sympathy and fleeting compassion. These are real people. Real norms. Your brother and sister in the Faith.
You know, sometimes I think of the Savior’s entrance in a pathetic poverty light. Only a stable. No room. The fear of labor pains lingering on a young new mother as it’s all played out in the desperation of that night.
Then I recall the pride beaming from this man’s face. Years of accomplishment resulting in his house which was made with his own two hands. Uncountable hours in the rice field out-of-town resulting in sustainable food. Two meals per day but still sustainable food.
Pity can creep to the front of my mind in light of the comparison. A desire to swoop in as if they need rescuing.
Sure I’d love to hear of plentiful fields resulting in three meals per day. I pray abundance over this precious family. I long to see the reward for their perseverance. Anxiously looking for their prospering amidst their daily challenge. I do not know if they will have it in this life, but I pray for it fervently.
But then I think of the Savior. The circumstances. The humble means. The daily realities of those humble means.
It starts to buck my thinking. It adjusts my heart to his perspective. See it’s not a heart of pity, but one of love.
Mary and Joseph offered all that they had to offer. And in that moment their contentment was not found in what could be considered a bleak offering compared to worldly goods.
Their contentment was found in offering literally all that they had.
Such heart. Such love.
It’s not that the circumstances have changed.
But His love stirs up a gratitude.
A gratitude altering perspective until it reflects His light.
A light that penetrates even the darkest of dark circumstances.
Lord, consume me with that kind of gratitude. And help me to learn from the surrounding humble means the true definition of gratitude and praise. Lord that You would be glorified in all things and in all circumstances. For no offering in Your hands is too lowly.
***This time and in the future I will continue to choose to protect too many revealing details when sharing things that the Lord is teaching me here. I am using discretion in sharing out of respect and honor to the names and legacies of those around me. Thank you for continuing to respect those that I share stores about. I share out of a heart of love, that you too could walk alongside of us in this journey and rejoice at God’s work among the people of Mozambique.