What’s in the Box?

Tis the season, isn’t it?

I am thinking about some of our Taylor Christmas traditions.

The other day I retrieved from the back of a closet our “Christmas box”.  Sadly, its been reduced to a box about the size of a shoebox.  Or maybe that is good?  Some of the reduction was by choice… tossing or packing and storing items for our kid’s future Christmases… some not by choice… theft and loss are a reality with our lifestyle.

At any rate, it still brings great joy to open the box.  Do you have such a box?  You open and find the treasures that represent Christmas… the Advent season.  They hold memories and warm thoughts as you reminisce and contemplate the earlier days with loved ones.

Speaking of boxes….

We received a different kind of box here in Mungu not too long ago.  IMG_1420A big cargo container of food, a precious gift of nutrition arrived, and the gift couldn’t have come with better timing.  1,400 boxes of food, arriving at the end of a dry season which seems to keep hanging on.  Will the rain ever come?  And for a people who experience hunger at this time of year, relief comes in a box.  Indeed Christmas has come to Mungu.

We also have a box on the way!  It is the giving spirit of a dear friend who poured her heart for quality education into a box full of supplies for the preschool.  Soon we will be opening a box that provides the tools we need to give an even greater gift… an education.  A solid start to help change the direction of these lives, no longer pre-disposed to a life of poverty, but an opportunity for transformation and change.

Sometimes change itself is the gift, isn’t it?  Like a church full of people who commit to a lifestyle change, one that includes weight-loss, a commitment to good health, living with less and sharing with their communities… both locally and in the world.  And aren’t those life-changing gifts the kind that pour into others?  It’s contagious.  Through their commitment to change, we find our little preschool building funded.  Transformation will happen here.  Transformation is happening there.  Thank you CLC.

Here at the Taylor home, we celebrate the season of Advent.  We light candles in eager anticipation of the Christ to come.  We share devotionals and Bible verses and contemplate our salvation.  We contemplate our Savior.

On Christmas we celebrate with our church family, share great food and exchange gifts.

Some things change with a move.  We are missing our church family at home, and who 10704121_881406645227432_8361432246554705371_nwants to cook a turkey all day in 100 degree heat?  If you saw our posts on Facebook with a photo of the candles in our Advent wreath, you know that some things are requiring us to adjust.

But for the sake of the kids, we still want to give gifts.  Let’s face it, unwrapping the presents under the tree is just plain fun.

Buying gifts… now that is a different matter.

It didn’t take us any time at all to realize that stuff here is expensive… really expensive!  To make matters worse, the quality suffers BIG time.

So… in all my bright ideas I thought it would be a good idea to use a shipping service and actually buy their gifts from American companies (think Amazon) and have it shipped to us here in Kafue.  So far… I think this is going to work.  I’ll let you know the results in a future post.

But here’s the thing that I observed….

I have never, ever been so careful about what I give as a gift.

I thought.  I prayed.  I asked.  I calculated size, weight, need.  I swear… it took 2 weeks before I made a decision on what to put in the box.

This is teaching me a lesson about giving gifts.

Have you ever poured that kind of energy and thought into the gifts you give?

I wonder if it would change how we “consume”, but that’s a whole other conversation.

In my efforts to find the perfect gifts for the kids, the thing that kept popping into my head was the Christmas song, Little Drummer Boy….

“Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum,

To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum,”

I am also challenged this Advent season to consider carefully the gift I bring before my King.  It is a thing to grapple with… that our gift, no matter how small and seemingly inconsequential, is enough.  What can we give to God?  

Yet, at the same time, our attitude, our generosity, our willingness to give…abundantly and from the heart, is everything.  Perhaps the greatest gift we can give to God is realized in the way we give to others.

Merry Christmas everyone!  We are praying that you find all the hope, peace, joy and love this season offers!

Love, Jennifer

If you would like to give us a gift this season, consider contributing your year-end gift to this ministry.  It is through the financial contributions of folks like you that we are able to remain here in Zambia.  We’d love to have you jump on board as a monthly contributor too.  The Antioch Partners makes it easy… you can have a monthly donation deducted right from your checking account or credit card.  Simple…. and profoundly helpful to our ability to serve!  Thanks for considering.  Here’s the link:

www.TheAntiochPartners.org/giving

Also, don’t forget to check out the link to our photo page.  Enjoy!  You can find the link under the tab called “snapshots”

 

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