My dad was gone and my mom was just trying to keep body and soul together for us kids. With a minuscule income and in an era before food stamps and other types of support, my mom really had to scrap just to put food on the table.
One of the memories my brother, Brian, and I have is going with my mom to wait in line for what was called “surplus food.” It was pretty much how it sounds. The government would send food items to “hand-out” locations. Those families who needed this kind of help lined up each week for whatever might be available. We were one of those families.
It was all very basic foods like rice. Sometimes there was canned “chipped beef.” Yummmmm. And, we could always count on a large bag of dried beans. Mom used them in all kinds of meals. But, our most vivid memory of dried beans was when we got them for a Christmas present.
No, it wasn’t what we asked Santa for and, of course, hardly a dream gift. Mom had cut square pieces of cloth, sewn two together on three sides, filled them with dry beans and sewn them shut. And, we had fun with them. We played catch. We threw them to see who could come closest to a target. Sometimes we used each other for targets and the “war” was on.
Brian and I reminisced recently about the bean bags: We think our mom was not only doing the best she could, she was also making a point. We try not to ever lose track of the lesson she taught us:
There are children in our communities who will not be getting a smart tablet, video game or much of anything else. And, you and I know that there are children in this world who would be glad for a bean bag Christmas. Further, we know through ministries like Compassion and World Vision that there are children so hungry that they would open the bean bags and eat the beans.
The lesson here is not to feel guilty about the blessings we have. The lesson is that we must never forget those who have far less. And, to honor the Christ Child, we can in His Name act on our remembering the poor. Here’s a suggestion:
Wrap up some uncooked rice and let it be the first gift family members open. You can answer the what-in-the-world look you receive by asking: “Not your dream gift?” Then, use it as a teaching moment and to share something you as a family are going to do about poverty and hunger. The possibilities are almost endless: Take food to a food pantry. Help distribute it at the food pantry. Support and/or serve at a homeless shelter. Give to a Compassion like ministry that can take your cash, check or credit card donation and work life-saving wonders in the lives of children near and far. Whatever you do, you will be pointing your family to others and to the Savior.
“But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne … “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world …
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? … “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ Matthew 25:31, 34, 37, 40 (NLT)
Now it’s time for…
Faith ‘n Friends Blog Hop
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by Crystal Hall
@ The Good News
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