As we enter this holiday season, I find myself reflecting on my blessings. I find it very easy to be thankful because my life is full, my blessings are abundant, and my circumstances are good. We are healthy, we are well taken care of (even if it's sometimes a squeeze to the next pay check), and our life is good. Who, in our circumstances, could not be grateful for the life they've been given?
But what if our circumstances were different? Does my gratitude and joy only come because my life is easy? What if I found myself in the shoes of someone less fortunate - what would my attitude be then? How easy it is to trust and rejoice when things in our life are good. And here's the bigger question: What am I doing to share my gratitude and joy with those who are less fortunate?
Lately I have been missing Ethiopia a lot. I've been thinking about the simpler, slower way of life. About the way they seem to engage with each other and have lots of time for each other. As we enter the Christmas hoopla, I am just struggling with it a bit this year. I love the decorating (yes, I already have my tree up!), the baking, and the time spent with my husband, kids, and family. But, is it where we find our joy? Is a beautiful tree and lots of material gifts really where our joy is found? Of course not. I just find myself caught in the contrast of what life is here this time of year (which actually serves to make many of us grumpier) and the life that I saw in Ethiopia. Which of these ways of life help us to keep our focus where it should be? I tend to think our African friends have gotten this right.
For those of you wondering, I have not become a scrooge - I do not hate Christmas and am looking forward to celebrating this year. Maybe after being in Africa and bringing home our precious boy who was literally found in it's streets, I just feel a little different about the excess. And find myself contemplating all the good that could be done for those who really need it this Christmas.