Even though Pamela is considered disabled in the eyes of the world, her diffability—a term coined several years ago by a nine-year-old homeschooler with Asperger Syndrome on my email list Aut-2B-Home—does not prevent her from serving others in need. Yesterday, we participated in two mission projects sponsored by our church’s youth group. First, the youth purchased toys and clothing for two needy families who would otherwise go without any presents this year. They raised the money for their mission and ski trip fund last month with donations from a Rock-a-Thon in which people sponsored them to rock in rocking chairs all night. Second, they wrapped the gifts and decorated them with ribbons. As gift-wrapping is not Pamela’s forte, she filled out gift tags for fifteen presents. Then we all delivered the gifts to the families who live not far from the church.
The second project involved visiting a local retirement home for the disabled and elderly who would otherwise be homeless. The youth sang Christmas carols and handed out bags full of cookies baked by some boys in this year’s confirmation class. Pamela enjoyed singing carols as we strolled down the halls. Because her great-grandparents lived in nursing homes before they died, she envisioned it as helping people like them.
If you peeked into our house, you would not believe we have one drop of the Christmas spirit by commercial standards. Right now the only hints of Christmas are Pamela's advent calendar and a flower arrangement. Our less than perfectly decorated house would please the small-hearted Grinch! Why is our house so bleak? Our lease expires on December 31, and we are planning to visit family out of town between the 26th and 30th. Translation—we must vacate the premises by by Christmas Day. All the rooms are packed up, except for essentials and Pamela's room. I will box up her books and treasures today! Our dressers are already gone, and we are living out of suitcases. Martha Stewart would have a meltdown in our house right now, and Ebenezer Scrooge would marvel at our thrift!
Pamela has adored How the Grinch Stole Christmas (book and DVD) ever since she was a little girl. She grew to love A Christmas Carol through the Disney video which has her favorite voice actor Will Ryan. When we lived in St. Cloud, Minnesota, a church production of the musical The Gospel According to Scrooge thrilled her to no end! As each angel arrived on the scene, her excitement increased. She loved it so much we purchased a videotape of the production for Christmas. Last year, we read Dickens' A Christmas Carol and gave Pamela Focus on the Family's Radio Theater production of A Christmas Carol, available at a rock-bottom price at CBD. I think these two stories are her all-time Christmas favorites because she understands the real meaning of Christmas. She knows that what keeps our hearts growing like the Grinch's and helps us share like Scrooge is Jesus.
We keep Christmas by keeping Christ is in our heart, not by hustle and bustle of making wish lists, decorations, and festivities. Helping the needy, reminding people of the birth of Christ in music, etc. reflect the Christmas spirit much more than shopping for ourselves, decorating, and going through the motions of looking Christmasy on the outside with nothing on the inside.