It was family conference time. We all gathered around the kitchen table. My kids took their spots, but I could see them looking at each other with questions in their eyes. “Did you do it?” “Wasn’t me!” Actually, everyone was great. Sure the bathroom could be a little cleaner and the laundry still needed to be folded, but this family conference was about a weight on my heart.
“I have an idea,” I started. This generated both deep sighs and questioning looks. I looked at these people who have such a deep hold on my heart and spilled my soul. “We are so blessed. I want what we do for Christmas this year to last beyond the battery life of the latest electronic toy. I long for our gift-giving to be something that speaks Jesus into someone’s life. I would like for the abundance our family enjoys to overflow into a blessing for someone else. What do you think about taking some of the money we would spend on Christmas gifts for each other and give it away to help someone have the things we take so much for granted – clean water, food to eat, a warm coat, school supplies, or a safe place to rest their head?”
There was a moment of quiet around the table. I could see the wheels turning as they thought about what this would mean. It would easy for my husband and I to do something behind the scenes, but this year I feel an urgency to invite my children to experience the responsibility and embrace the sacrifice that comes with extending compassion. With very little hesitation, they nodded. Their willingness to step outside of themselves in order to give something that will make a difference was the best gift they could have given me.
My Jesus Resolution today is to give a gift motivated by compassion. This year we are going to buy just a little bit less in order to give a little bit more. Compassion is about looking beyond my own circle and seeing ways that the ripples of God’s love can be spread out just a little bit further. Giving a compassion gift can take many forms – a little time, a few dollars, or a bit of attention can all become acts of service that speak Jesus into someone’s heart and change us forever.