A Compassionate Christmas
I can't believe Christmas is only two weeks away. I am so not ready. My mind hasn't had much time to think about the the things of Christmas...holiday parties, gift-giving and planning for Christmas day. Our tree isn't up. Our cards aren't mailed. And I haven't done any Christmas shopping.

Thankfully, I did get our nativities out and some decorations up, and JJ did put up some outside sparkling lights. But this Christmas will probably be quite a bit more simple than most. Honestly, simple sounds really nice about now, especially since complicated could define the past two months, or three or four.

One thing we will be celebrating this Christmas is the gift of each other. We've been given a beautiful baby girl, the gift of more time with grandma, and two amazing sons who have helped take care of both of them.

Grandma, aka mom, is doing much better now that her kidney stone is out. When she takes it easy, it's a good day. When she overdoes it, it's not so good. This Tuesday she was very weak, and I sensed she was scared. She felt dizzy, tired and could barely get up to walk. She didn't want to drive herself anywhere which is not like her.

It really concerned me, but then I remembered that the day before she'd gone back to her house unsupervised. And she stopped by the library...and the store... and I found out she went upstairs more than she was supposed to. Tuesday afternoon she told me she'd learned a lesson and is going to be a "good girl" now. So far, she's been better but still not able to walk well.

We're now mainly concerned about mom's Baker's cyst (fluid) behind her left knee that is very, very painful, along with severe arthritis. Also, her blood thinning (INR) levels dropped back to normal this week so she's at a high risk for clotting again. The kids and I were supposed to be with JJ on Kiawah Island, SC for a marathon he's running tomorrow, but last night decided I should stay home and keep an eye on mom. So, Andrew, Aster, grandma and I are at home while JJ and Joshua are in SC.

Today I was thinking about all that we have been through these past few weeks and I felt so grateful for the compassion of those around us who have helped meet our basic needs and been Jesus with skin on. They've filled in our gaps and taken care of us through prayers, meals, watching our kids, etc.

I also thought about how blessed I am to be healthy and to have the ability to take care of my mom, my sweet baby girl and my guys! It made me think about people who don't have the resources to take care of those they love who are in need.

It's funny how needing others' compassion will give you a heart of compassion for others.

Our family decided this morning that we're going to have a very simple and compassionate Christmas where we put our focus on caring more for each other than we care about the gifts under our tree. And, instead of rushing around in a panic trying to figure out what to buy for our kids and each other, we're going to look for simple ways to give to others.

One way we're going to do that is by sponsoring another child through Compassion International for Christmas.

I would love for you or your family to join our family in sponsoring a child through Compassion. To do it, we're each going to give up something every month to save $ so we can send it to a child through Compassion. For more information about their sponsorship program, click here.

I'd love to know how are you doing in your Christmas planning. Do you have your tree up? Are you sending Christmas cards? Does your family have a something you do for, or give to, those in need during the holidays?

And if you are still reading this looong post and have another minute and a kleenex, be sure to visit www.shereads.org . Author Tom Davis' shares about his ministry to the orphans of Ethiopia there. He filmed some great videos just for P31's She Reads book club that talk about his book Scared and his work in Africa. I love his heart, and I love those precious children in Ethiopia!!!


Anonymous Melissa Taylor said...


I'm sorry you had to miss Kiawah this year! But I also know you are where you are supposed to be, with your Mom and your Baby! The past weeks and months have been difficult for you, but you've handled them with such trust and faith and that has seen you through! I love how your family has pulled together and has done what was necessary without question. Your boys have really learned a lot about love and family and commitment.

Thanks for encouraging others to give to a Compassion Child. I know for us, it's something we as a family love and feel so blessed to be a part of.

Love You,

I love you

Blogger Sandra Heska King said...

This is wonderful, Rene. My heart breaks to see all the children who have been without a sponsor for so long. We already sponsor a girl in Kenya, and I want that one and that one and that one . . .

Blogger Renee Swope said...

Okay, after I wrote this post, I went over to Tom Davis' site to find out more about HopeChest for Children and oh my. Now my heart longs to sponsor one of their orphans, too.

What else do I need to give up Jesus to give more to those in need?

Anonymous Jo Howitt-Smith said...

My heart goes out to you and your family. You have certainly been through a difficult time.I was sharing a cuppa with a dear Christian neighbour and friend last night, after her children were tucked up in bed. After going over our respective years we pondered on how we would have come through this year with out our dear Father and faith in Him.
Your faith in Him has shone through in this difficult season. There are times when we must rest and focus on the simpler things of life and I thank you for reminding me of this. I do sponsor four children in Africa through World Vision and have visited them a couple of years ago. It never fails to amaze me how far our few dollars go in countries that are struggling...
Keep up your strength... you are a real blessing to your mother and family...
Hugs and blessings this Christmas time... Jo H-S, from Australia

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Blogger Tammy Nischan said...

Hey Renee!

Shew!!! Christmas has certainly snuck up on us, hasn't it?!?

But what a great, great Christmas you will have!!!!!

Soak up every single simple minute!

Love you,

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