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.”