I vividly remember this time of year as a child. Our mailman would deliver the JCPenney's catalog to our mailbox and I LOVED going through the catalog and circling all the toys that I was putting on my Christmas list. This year, the kids have really gotten into the catalogs that have come through the mail, too. I think that we've just about gotten them all...Toys R Us, Walmart, Target, Pottery Barn, LL Bean, Hallmark, American Girl, Build A Bear (I just love the little Rudolph and Clarice reindeer that they are featuring), Lifeway, and the list goes on and on. I have found my kids looking at all of the toys in the catalogs, sharing the ones that catch their eyes, and they've even circled some of the toys that they would like to receive as gifts.
Then last week, we received the catalog for World Vision. And this catalog puts everything into perspective. In a season of spending, it takes so little to help someone less fortunate. For instance, $30 will buy a family 5 ducks to provide eggs for years; $100 will give 2 or more families a goat and 2 chickens that will provide eggs, milk, and meat; $18 will cover the cost of a mosquito net for a family to help prevent malaria; and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Gifts of animals, protection for girls and women, comfort and warmth, clean water, food, nutrition, and medical care can impact the lives of so many. And, it only takes so little.
If you've ever been around our children when they pray, you might hear a prayer for "Shella". Shella is a little girl that has been part of our family since the twins turned five. That summer, Jason had been reading The Hole in Our Gospel by Rich Stearns, the President of World Vision. The book really convicted us to consider what we could do as a family to help a child...which led us to Shella. Shella is a beautiful little Haitian girl who happens to share the same birthday as Joshua and Abby Kate (July 6, 2004). Through World Vision, our family has been taking care of Shella for the past 18 months. Not a day goes by that our children don't pray for her. I doubt we'll ever even meet her this side of heaven, but Shella has made a tremendous difference in our lives. I hope we've been able to make a difference in hers.
I hesitate to post this here for fear that it might come across as boasting. That's definitely not my intention. But I want everyone to know how easy it is to make a difference in the life of a less fortunate child. We believe in the mission of World Vision. This holiday season, I'm looking forward to starting a new tradition with my family. One that involves an entirely different catalog for us to circle. It's things like this that help us keep our perspective during the holiday season.