"My hope, my dream, my prayer is simply this. The magic of Christmas for a young child is not reserved only for those who have the 'embarrassment of riches'. It is for all the children in all the world."
There is an old saying - if you are very "flush" or full of something very special or valuable, you have an "embarrassment of riches". In this country, compared to most of the world, we do have an "embarrassment of riches", in just about everything.
This year, as we have done in the past, our family looks around to make sure the least of us in our community does not get left out during this most special season. What we have learned a few years ago, is simply this. This poorest of the poor in this country would do very well in other countries where poverty has a different meaning.
What exactly does that mean? Yes, there are still unmet needs of many in this country. Each year we partner with a few reputable local food and shelters to help folks out - especially at this time of year.
In this country however, even the most destitute person does not starve. True, some may freeze to death by not finding shelter. Or die of a sickness which could have been treated. Or murdered by someone far more desperate to survive. But this is what we have found in our Twin Cities community. Even the most poor can get through the holidays with some holiday food on the table and presents for their kids. However, in some other countries, lack of any food means lack of life. Yes, people really do starve.
Why do I say we have an "embarrassment of riches"? Simply this - we have been blessed beyond belief. Under our tree, every year since we have first been married, there are plenty of presents. There is a good meal being prepared on both Christmas Eve (at our house), and when my wife's parents were alive, Christmas Day at their house. There was always laughter, and joy, and presents being exchanged, as well as everyone getting their fill at the table. But in many other countries, it is just the opposite.
We have been involved with Operation Christmas Child for a few years now. It is part of Franklin Graham's Samaritan's Purse organization. This year, for the second year in a row, we sent thirty boxes of presents to thirty kids we don't know, nor never met. These thirty kids have basically nothing. Getting a wash rag, tooth brush, or soap, means the world to them. But also getting a few simple toys or coloring items thrown in, is out of this world good. Why? They don't have an "embarrassment of riches". They have just the opposite.
Maybe in this country we could spend a bit less on ourselves. I have heard that a thousand times or more. As a conservative, I believe in a "rising tide lifting all boats". I like our Christmas times being the way they are - excessive or not. I would rather have the poorest of the poor get opportunities to expand their standard or living. But until that happens, we will continue to send presents through Operation Christmas Child to kids we don't know. To us, it is a little sacrifice. To them, it is the world.
Did we overbuy for each other this year? Nope. Those days are far behind us. How about our kids and grand kids? Guilty as charged. Mostly, for the grand kids.
There is a reason for going a bit overboard for the grand kids on Christmas. For those who are grandparents, this is old news to you. You understand. Seeing the magic of Christmas through a young child's eyes once again, is worth it all. The lights, the music, the cookies, and yes - the presents, will light kids up like only this season can do.
My hope, my dream, my prayer is simply this. That magic of Christmas for a young child is not reserved only for those who have the "embarrassment of riches". It is for all the children in all the world. For as they grow, they will understand the true meaning this is not about presents and lights - it is about the the joy of giving. And the little baby who was born on this day, who gave it all just for us, taught what giving really means.