Monday, November 1, 2010

Finally, The Christmas Challenge

I cry on the way home from work. That's my time to unwind, and think. I don't cry every day, but I do cry often. Today was no exception.

This morning I came into the office to an email from Haiti. Amy, one of the nurses at Children of the Promise, was letting me know that little Ashka had been called home Saturday morning. Another sweet life, taken so early. In the month leading up to my trip, four babies had died. Since I've been home, we've lost three more. Unfortunately, death is a way of life for those in Haiti.

The email this morning brought to light a reality we don't see here in the US. Yes, children die here. Yes, there is pain and suffering. But in Haiti, it is so much greater. The babies who die in Haiti most likely would not die if they were in the US. We have a healthcare system, and food shelters, and social workers. Our system certainly isn't without its challenges, but we have a system. In Haiti, there is nothing.

Children of the Promise is a blessing to the children of Cap-Haitien and surrounding communities. They do all they can, with what they have, to feed, nurture and provide medical care for the children who are brought to their gate. While there is a lot of life, they unfortunately still deal with a lot of death.

The Challenge - the original Christmas Challenge - has been on my mind since I was in Haiti. It came to me as soon as I stepped off the plane. Before I ever met a baby, I knew what I wanted to post to you all. It's November 1st - and it's time to post the challenge.

The Challenge: This Christmas, before you purchase one present, pause...and think. Think about a few things:
1 - What is the true meaning of Christmas? Really - why do we have Christmas? Why did it ever start?
2 - Think about all the presents you purchased last year for everyone. Can you remember everything you bought?
3 - Can you remember what presents YOU were given last year?
4 - Ask your family, friends, children what THEY got for Christmas last year. Do they remember?

My point is this. We spend SO MUCH money on a holiday which is greater than presents. What does it mean to you that the Christ child was born on Christmas Day? What does his birth and his life mean to you? Are you honoring HIM at Christmas? Or does it seem you're honoring a mall more?

This isn't about guilt - but this is about pausing, and changing our ways. I challenge you to think before you purchase. Do the people in your life really need what you're buying? Will they remember it next year? Is there somewhere else you could use that money?

The ultimate challenge is this - take some of the excess you'd spend this year - on decorations, wrapping, those extra gifts for your kids, expensive treats - and give it to the babies. Write out a check for Children of the Promise for $25, $50, $100, $1,000. Whatever you feel you can give - whatever you can take away from your usual spending and still celebrate the meaning of Christmas.

Please do this for Olivenson, Josette, sweet Ashka. Babies who don't have the opportunity to open presents this year. Please give in their memory, so that Children of the Promise can keep doing the amazing work they are doing for the people of Haiti.

I'm not asking you to take away from your celebrating. I'm asking that you give a new meaning to some of the money that you'd usually spend on Christmas. What you give to Children of the Promise will truly help save a life. What an amazing gift.

Checks can be sent here:
Children of the Promise
Po Box 123
Prinsburg MN 56281

For my friends in Canada:
c/o J and M DeJonge
995 Concession 2, R.R.1
Selkirk On. Canada
N0A 1P0.

Please write a special note for the person who opens the envelop. I'll leave that up to your spirit and creativity. Tell them why you are donating.

God doesn't want us to feel guilty for what we have. He rejoices in our happiness. At the same time, He wants us only to take what we need, then give the rest to those who need it more.


  1. Count us in Karen..will send the cheque direct to the COTP Canada..its all for the babies n kid..its worth it...C'MON ppl..we can do this together

    Thanks Karen..God Bless!!

  2. Although I don't believe in a God, I do believe that all children deserve a chance. I'm not comfortable sending money to religious charities, but I will send a check to another non-religious charity in Josie's name.

  3. Anon - thank you for your post. If you remember, I was calling her Josie while I was in Haiti. It brings tears to my eyes knowing an agency will get a donation in her memory.


  4. p.s. I wish you could have met her. She was so beautiful!