December 14, 2016

Peace on Earth

I made pot roast for dinner last night.  Mashed potatoes, green beans, and gravy.  We ate a hot meal and filled our bellies.  After dinner, we loaded up the boys and drove to the part of town that has magical Christmas light displays.  We saw twinkle lights galore, a giant plate of cookies left for Santa, creative handmade pieces of nutcrackers and gingerbread houses and Santa's sleigh.  After our drive we came home, bathed our boys and tucked them in their warms beds with clean pajamas.  We kissed them goodnight and Todd and I ended the evening by watching a show on Netflix.

Nothing we did was really out of the ordinary.  It's was a normal evening for the most part, with a fun special outing to boot.  This morning though, as more news and footage and pictures from the travesty in Aleppo continues to be brought to us, I feel this desperate, aching kind of sorrow for our full bellies and clean clothes and safe home and those who don't have them

This picture has been around me a lot today.  These two poor babies.  Tired, scared, dirty, alone.  Probably hungry. Oh, how I want to scoop them up and just hold them.
If I'm honest, these are the pictures I want to look away from.  It's Christmastime.  It's time to be happy and celebrate and have fun and be with our families, eat good things and open presents.  Yet, there is so much awfulness happening around the world and I am one of the millions of Americans who has usually given into the belief that I can't really do anything, so I'll feel sad and utter a prayer and think about my own little life worries.

But, I have been finding it harder and harder to do that.  I can't do that anymore.  I want to sit with the reality of this picture and do more than pray a good prayer or send a good vibe to Aleppo.  I want to help.  I want to this little girl and this little boy to know that I see them and that what they are going through is not okay. 

The Syrian refugee crisis is one that I've felt deeply moved by and called to do something about.  I  believe that we live in this era of technology and social media for a reason.  We don't just hear stories, we can see them right in front of our eyes on a daily basis.  We have a real opportunity to help and be a part of a solution in doing the things that Jesus taught when it came to loving on those in need.

I was reminded of this scripture in the gospel of Matthew.  Jesus is talking to His disciples.  They were both students and friends to Him.  He had this to say them as they sat on the Mount of Olives together just before Jesus was betrayed by Judas and was arrested:

Matthew 25:34-40
"Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;  I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.' Then the righteous will answer Him saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You a drink?  When did we see you a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?  Or when did we see You sick, or in prison and come to You?'  And the  King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'"

Jesus continues in this passage with a warning for those who do the opposite.  These scriptures have been convicting and have called me to action.  If I am a disciple of Jesus, if I am His friend - He is talking to ME here, just as much as He was talking to His disciples then. 

The needs for Aleppo and the entire Syrian refugee crisis can feel huge and overwhelming.  It's easy to feel small.  But we've made some small changes for our own family, and I think if everyone could do the same things, it could add up to a really big something.

We've trimmed our budget, eliminated some luxuries.  We've researched some really great organizations right now on the ground that our funds and donations can go directly to helping feed and clothe these people.  I have printed some pictures from Aleppo and put them on our refrigerator as a constant reminder to pray and be mindful of those in need as I go about my daily routines in the kitchen that are full of comfort and security.  We have conversations with our children, we show them the news and the pictures - not to scare them, but to create an awareness in the world of those who desperately need Jesus and how we can give life and love to these hurting people.

This time of year we often hear the songs of "tidings of comfort and joy" and "peace on earth, goodwill toward men."  There is no peace on this earth, except for what we have in Jesus.  If we have Jesus, oh let us be the comfort and joy to someone this Christmas.  There may never be peace on earth, but we can be peace to someone else.  Let it begin with me.

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