We celebrate the Christmas season with family.
We’ll sit around a table with each other and eat way too much food. I’ll make sure to get on a team with my cousin, because he always wins when we play Spades. My brother-in-law will definitely say something crazy, we’ll all end up laughing, and he always catches me mid-swallow. My grandma will give my a big hug and say, “I’m so glad you’re here.” She’ll tear up when she says the blessing because “all her children are under one roof.” My mom will most definitely give me those furry socks with aloe in my stocking, even though I never wear them (don’t tell her that). I do appreciate them! Our kids will run around our house like screaming wild things leaving Cheeto handprints up the stairwell. And it will take DAYS to clean up the playroom after everyone leaves. You’ll find us eating oyster soup with Goldfish on Christmas Eve at my sister’s house. (It sounds gross, but it’s tradition.) And our whole family will all hold hands at the end of the Christmas Eve service at church.
We'll get the kids out of their car seats while we drive through Roper Mountain Science Center looking at all of the lights. And they'll scream their heads off when we have to put them back in their car seats to go home. I’ll dress them in matching pajamas and read them Christmas books every night right before I rock them as we watch the lights from their Christmas tree twinkle. They’ll get their picture made with Santa whether they like it or not. We’ll make Jesus a birthday cake and sing to Him. My children will know that He is the best gift we’ve ever received, and the real reason we celebrate Christmas. They’ll wake up on Christmas morning (in their matching pjs of course) and I’ll cry my eyes out as their faces light up when they come down the stairs. Because I’ll remember all the years that passed when I wondered if I would ever become a mama. They’ll get more toys and clothes than they need and they’ll have a mama and daddy who love them more than anything.
The reality is, there are children that will not celebrate Christmas with family this year, because they don't have one. They will go to sleep scared because they live in a home that isn’t safe. They will be cold because they won’t have a winter coat. They will go to sleep starving and aching from hunger pains because they don’t know when they’ll get to eat next. They will witness and experience things that would horrify us. This is reality. This is happening. Probably closer than you even think, in homes a few streets over from you. There are children, like mine and yours with faces and names, that are literally trying to survive each moment of the day in streets, slums, and villages on the other side of the world.
And they are OUR responsibility.
The Bible commands, not suggests, but commands us in James 1:27 to care for the orphans and widows in their distress. It is our job as Believers to care for them. If we, as sons and daughters of the King, started caring for orphans, rather than waiting on someone else to do it, there wouldn’t be orphans in our country, or in our world for that matter. I realize that not everyone can welcome a child into their home. But there are HUNDREDS of ways that you can care for orphans without fostering or adopting. I urge you to try one of the ways listed below.
I promise, you will be the one receiving the blessing.
1) Buy Christmas presents from shops that supports orphan care.
You are buying presents for Christmas anyways, you might as well buy them from shops that support orphans! Every year since we brought Selah home, we have hosted a tree from Ornaments 4 Orphans. They make it super easy to host. They send you everything you need and you send back what you don’t sell. Since Selah’s birthday is a few days before Christmas, we encourage our family and friends to buy an ornament from the tree instead of bringing a present. I mean the girl has way more than she needs, and this is a sweet way to teach her to give back. You can have an ornament party at your house, or you can buy directly from their website. I love this ministry and plan on hosting a tree every Christmas until forever. My friend, Kailey, wrote a post and combined a TON of other small shops that supports adoption.
2) Sponsor a child.
I just recently began sponsoring a child from Compassion International. For 38 dollars a month, a child will receive education, food, clothes, and clean water. Not only is it life changing for that child, it is life changing for their family. That’s two trips to Chic-Fil-A for our family, about six Starbucks coffees, one pair of shoes, or two shirts from Target a month. This is a REAL child living in dire circumstances around the world. And forfeiting a smidge of our comfort a month can literally change their life. We have our little guy’s picture hanging on our pantry door. He has a name and the sweetest face. Every time we open the door that is filled to the brim with food, we pray for him.
3) Give to those around you who are adopting.
Adoption is not cheap. It just isn’t. There’s no nice way to put it. It’s costly both financially and emotionally. Tears are dripping down my face as I type this because if people did not give financially to us, we would not have been able to bring our children home. God used the hearts of people to provide to the penny what we would need to bring them into our family forever. Those people who gave to us, they invested in eternity, in the lives of our children. We will forever be grateful. If you know someone who is adopting, buy a t-shirt from them. Even if you have a hundred. And pray from them each time you wear it. If you don’t know anyone who is adopting, here are two of my friends that are very close to bringing home their babies. I’d love it if you gave to them. Not only are you helping them bring home a child, but you are investing in that child’s life eternally.
I taught with my friend, Brittany, for several years. I’m so excited to see her bring her baby home soon. Go Fund Me Link.
I met my friend, Allison, at an adoption conference. We have kindred hearts and I love her heart for the orphan and for Father. They only need 7,000 dollars before they’ve met their goal. Go Fund Me link.
4) Support foster parents in your community.
My sister and brother-in-law have been foster parents for one year this December. They would tell you it has been life changing. It’s not always easy, in fact it's really hard sometimes, but they are living out the gospel. The Father’s heart is to come into our mess, rescue us from it, and love us back to life. That’s His heart. That’s foster care. And because marks on eternity are being made in these children's lives, foster care is a constant battle ground for the enemy to try to steal what has already been healed. My sister would tell you it’s hard. But she would also tell you that she has experience deeper understanding of the Father’s heart in this act of obedience than anything else in her life.
Support these families. Take them meals when they get new placements. Give them gift cards for food and clothes. Buy them cute clothes for their new child, not old hand me downs you would never dress your child in. Offer to cut their grass, or wash their car, or run an errand for them. Even write them a note reminding them that you are praying Scripture over them and their household. Rally around them and just remind them that you care. I promise they need that more than you know.
5) You can pray for the fatherless.
Ask the Father to give you a heart for the orphan. Every night before you close your eyes, pray for the fatherless who go to sleep and literally have nothing. Pray that He will be their Father and their portion. Pray that He will set them in families. And pray that He will show you how to love and care for the orphan in their distress right where you are.
He will. And you will be changed forever.