The delight of mysteries unveiled, genuine surprises experienced and laughter shared lingered in the corners of the room and under the tree. The tangible things that those gifts had sprung from were all claimed and unwrapped.
Yet, there WAS one last gift. The corner of it peeked from beneath the tree skirt where I had hidden it earlier that morning. Of all the gifts I carefully selected for my daughters, it was the one that gave me the most joy to think about.
It came in the form of a letter, read aloud amid the blessings of abundance and comfort:
To my precious girls,
In a country far from where we live, in a house that is likely much smaller than our living room, there is a family whose life is about to change in one very important way.
They are unknown to you; but I want you to imagine them and know that they are real. They look different than you, though they are the same in many ways. They laugh and cry and share family traditions, just as we do. They are God’s created, crafted by Him and given life by Him just as you have been.
They don’t have a Christmas tree, presents to unwrap and a big dinner to look forward to. There are so many things you have and use every day that they do without, but in a way, you are going to give them life.
They live in a world where water doesn’t come by turning on a faucet. The children of the family, usually girls, your age or younger, put a bucket on their heads and walk about three miles to a watering hole. When the bucket is full, they put it back on their head and walk home. The heavy bucket is full of water which they must have in order to live, but it isn’t clean, clear water like you’re used to. It is dirty, contaminated water that makes them sick and can kill them, even while it keeps them from dying of thirst.
When we went to the Bethlehem walk, we saw someone who was demonstrating a special filter bucket that purifies dirty water. It takes away the parasites and impurities and makes the water safe to drink.
Imagine what the children would do the first time they got water from a bucket like that and saw the dirty water inside come out pure, shining like liquid glass. I think they’d clap their hands, laugh and dance from happiness because they’d see what seems like a miracle. They’d taste the water and drink it and watch as light shines through it as it streams out of their filter bucket. They would be amazed!
I could have bought you each one more Christmas gift, but instead, in your names, I bought a filter bucket that will be delivered to a family, far from here. I did this because I want you to know that in a small way, you can be part of something bigger than you are. I want you to be aware there is a world full of hurting people outside the safety of our home, and that there are many ways to help them.
What people everywhere need most is the Living Water that can only come to them by knowing Jesus as their Savior. I am so thankful that both of you have the Living Water of Jesus. I pray that you will learn to love Him so much that His love spills out of you into the lives of others who need Him. I pray that you’ll use the gifts and talents you’ve been given to help others in His name and that you will never feel that your hands are too small to do good.
I also hope you’ll always remember that Christmas, and life in general, is not about how much you get, but about how much you give. God demonstrated that when He gave us the most precious gift of all, His Son, Jesus.
I love you both so very, very much and am proud of you because I know that you will change your world for the good. Always give God the credit for whatever you do, because He is the source and provider of all your many wonderful gifts and talents.
Merry Christmas, my beautiful girls.
It is estimated that 27,000 children die each week because of diseases contracted from unsafe water and unhygienic living conditions. We know how to say all the words in that sentence, but we can’t fully know the pain and suffering those words represent.
How much suffering can you stop? How many children can you save?
Click here for Compassion’s Water of Life website and read about how to give the water of life. If you aren’t able to do this alone, inspire your group, class or organization to help! Each filter bucket purchased is delivered to a family by a member of a local church. This representative teaches the family the importance of clean water and how to maintain the bucket system, among other things. This visit opens the door for a relationship between the family and the Believer who delivers the bucket. God can use that relationship to quench the thirst of their souls, by giving them the eternal gift of Living Water through Jesus Christ! Pray that this occurs!
“Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
4 thoughts on “THE LAST GIFT”
Just wanted to share what your post has inspired in our household. I often get frustrated after Christmas as I’m trying to find places for all our new things and cleaning out the old. I know my children know the true meaning of the Christmas and the gift of Christ, but feel that it often gets buried under all the presents, especially after five Christmas gatherings with extended family members. A blessing to have so much family to spend time with, but our house can only hold so much! I love the idea of teaching the kids more about giving, so after reading your blog I created a Compassion Water of Life jar. I plan to wrap up our Christmas and begin the New Year with our kids talking about how we can be more giving as a family this year. The jar will remain with us all year as we work to fill it in order to give the gift of water to another family or perhaps families next Christmas. We already sponsor a little girl in Ghana through World Vision and I love to hear my children pray for her each night. However, I think this will give them a goal to work towards giving a gift they can be a part of and watch the money they give accumulate through the year in a much more visual way. Thank you for the inspiration!
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughtful comments! It is such a joy to know that God is using my words to make you think and inspire you to make a difference in the world and also to enrich the character of your children! It is amazing to think how God blends all of our stories and efforts to serve Him into one beautiful picture! Thank you, once again, for being God’s instrument in giving me the gift of this blog…and for giving me a way to set my words to use for Him!
Love and blessings to you and your precious family in 2016!
In tears, I think yet again,”Thank You,Lord, for Janey and her gift of putting into words and actions what so needs to be shared. ”
May each one of us share Jesus today and each day of our lives in the ways God puts upon our hearts. Today, I believe He has put the idea of providing filter buckets on them. Let’s make a difference.
I am so thankful to have an outlet to share! God is so faithful to use the words in my posts to inspire you and others. Thank you for all that you do to serve the homeless. KNOW that you are an inspiration to others!