Author SHARI TVRDIK
Pictured above: Children from the State Shelter Christmas morning 2016 learn about the true meaning of Christmas wearing robes and crowns, because "everyone's invited".
I spent many Christmases as a missionary in Mongolia "missing out" on the Christmas with family at home.
Now that I'm back in the USA it all feels so very far away.
But, I remember everything.
I remember the pain of my neighbors on the other side of the world.
I can still hear the sound of fathers tearing apart our wood fence at night in order to have something to burn for heat in their homes.
I have not forgotten and the look of hunger in the eyes of a child who showed me five pieces of bread and exclaimed, "We have food for the whole week...Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday."
I remember the feeling of the lump that moved to my throat when he looked at me and said, "Would you like some Shari?"
I wondered if I'd forget it one day, the suffering that abounded near me for so many years.
I wondered if I would forget the joy of Christmas spent with orphans who didn't expect a gift or even a hug. Everything offered to them was received with the wonder of a person who feels undeserved.
I wondered if I would forget the precious deserved.
It's easy to become distracted by the holiday shopping, Christmas parties and family gatherings. I look at my bank statements and feel the slug in the gut from Christmas spending
sprees. It's a wonderful blessing isn't it, to have such a beautiful struggle.
We who have less pressing issues than survival, take the message of Christmas into our traditions without desperately aching for it in our soul.
But let me tell you for certain, in case you wonder, there is a Christmas where none of the trappings and trimmings matter. It does indeed exists, a Christmas, where the message itself is the gift a soul is hungering to receive.
There are people, in prison, in cold homes, on streets, in orphanages and shelters all around this globe who know a Christmas like this. For them, there is a desperate hope in the message of a Savior. The message of a God who loved them wholly is exactly what they need to continue into tomorrow.
They long for Him the way the people of Israel did on that silent night.
They wait too.
Some are waiting still to know.
Missions is the telling of this story with one's life.
The story of a love that surpass all understanding, of a willingness of God to come to us right here in our pain, our loneliness, our mess, our need and our empty.
For those of us with the privilege to require reminders to put the message of Jesus above the gifts and the treats, we must not forget a world who longs for one thing, a world who waits to hear there is hope. A world who takes the Christmas message into their starving souls and swallows it down as life.
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