Dorothy clicked the heels of her ruby slippers and repeated, “There is no place like home.” No wonder “The Wizard of Oz” became a television holiday tradition.
Holidays make us long for home. Fragrances. Home cooking. Hugs. Reunions. Relaxing husbands. Frantic wives. There is no place like home or the comfort of familiar surroundings.
Our home is no different. We try to create traditions. A feast at Thanksgiving, hugs from visiting family members, some time to sleep late and the comfort of family and friends.
But I have a concern privately shared with my friends. I hope I am not rearing spoiled brats! That concern is magnified at this time of year. Do we truly teach what Jesus taught as we strive to create Christian homes? American parents face a huge dilemma. In doing so much to raise happy healthy children, are we doing enough of the right things?
Hurricane Ivan caused many local rivers and creeks to flood. Our home fronts a small neighborhood lake that rose several feet into our yard. We tied our deck and gazebo to nearby trees in an effort to keep them close should they drift away in the rising water.
A tree fell, forming a bridge from our yard to the peak of a gazebo, making a perfect temptation for my children who love to climb. Being a mean mom, I made my seven-year old son, Rhett, stop just beyond the halfway point. Needless to say, he wanted desperately to go to the top.
Later that night, Rhett was upset with me. “Why do I always have to be so safe?” He cried alligator tears, and while I tried to console him, he responded. “I’ve just had a bad day.”
There I was, face-to-face with my fear about rearing spoiled children. I wondered silently. “Is this really about climbing some tree?”
“Son, let me ask you a question. Are you hungry?”
“No,” he said.
“Are you cold?”
“Are you wet from all the rain today?”
“Then Son, you have not had a bad day.” I turned and left his room realizing he had no idea what I had just tried to explain to him.
As parents there are just some things that we can’t tell our children and expect them to truly comprehend the meaning. We must show them what we mean. One such thing is about hungry children in a different part of town or in a distant country. Kids respond better to tangibles. Show them children with ribs protruding and they will share their food.
As a Christian mom, I want to teach others about Jesus by my actions, not just my words. We talk about people in need, but this year it’s time to quit talking and time to start doing.
In a conversation with my friend Cathy who works for Open Door Adoption Agency, we discussed a common desire to teach our children to share what they have with others. Now that my children are 7 and 9, this is the perfect age to begin to show them about the needs of others.
There is no place like home, unless you don’t have one. Cathy told me of a program that needs host families for orphans from Russia. Frontiers For Children brings children over two times a year seeking host homes and adoptive families. Host families teach the children about Jesus while sharing their home and family. The goal is that they will someday be permanently adopted.
Searching the website, I scrolled through pictures of happy children and read their stories. Some had never known a home or a family.
When my children looked at the pictures and we read about their lives, each was eager to help and became excited about the opportunity. Maybe four weeks of sharing their lives with disadvantaged children might be what the doctor ordered to teach my kids what a bad day really is! Not to mention the opportunity to share Christ with others, and offer our home to someone in need.
Jesus said He would not leave us as orphans. (John 14:18) As Christians, this is simply one opportunity to share Christ with others. God blessed America with an abundance of everything. “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked”. (Luke 12:48). We are the hands of Christ, and the holiday season is a great time to reach out to others.
Am I suggesting that you adopt a child for four weeks or even a lifetime? Not necessarily. The greatest gift you can give your family this holiday season is to become aware of those in need and to do something to help. You may not want to adopt a Russian child, but feed someone who is hungry. You may not want to become a host home, but visit a nursing home and spend time with a lonely senior.
This holiday season, let’s do more than talk about the gift of Jesus, lets live it. The greatest gift any of us has ever received is the gift of eternal life in Christ and forgiveness of every sin in our past and future. We can share that gift openly this season by reaching outside our comfort zone.
As we enjoy our homes and feasts this season, enjoy and be grateful! There truly is no place like home.
(Frontiers for Children can be located on the web at frontiersforchildren.org or by calling calling Le Ann Dakake at 678-313-8321. Of the past children in the hosting program, 85% have been adopted into permanent families. You can become involved in one of three ways- funding, hosting, (Dec. 13-Jan. 10), or permanent adoption. Please contact them for more information.)