I've been sending a lot of letter replies recently, still catching up from letters received a few weeks ago. One "new" letter I've sent this month is about Christmas!
A few weeks ago, maybe during Thanksgiving week, my pastor was talking about gifts and the things for which we are thankful. He told a cute story about his grandson that I immediately knew I wanted to share with our kids! The short version is that they were playing a "treasure hunt" game, and the treasure that the grandson chose to hide was very unexpected- but it was still precious to him. Our pastor then asked the parents of the church to talk to their kids about what kind of gift they would give Jesus if they could. They are then supposed to bring those to our Christmas Day service, and they'll be placed at the altar. I know he's asked the parents to include a note explaining why the kids chose that gift, and he'll use that in a later message. So I, in turn, asked *my* kids what kind of gift they would give baby Jesus! I also told them about a treasure that is important to me. I really hope that I hear back from several of the kids on this. I tried numbering the questions so the translators or tutors will know to pay special attention to them, as has been recommended on Compassion's website before. We'll see if it works!
I'm sharing the text of the letter here, so you can tweak it if you like. It might be fun to talk to your own sponsor kids about the gifts of the wisemen, and ask them what they would give! I also sent a nativity coloring page (which I found using Google) which you can download and send. And Compassion has two different nativity-themed pieces of stationery on their website!
Hello! Greetings from my family to yours. I can't believe that Christmas is just two weeks away. My pastor shared an interesting story in church last week, and I wanted to pass it along to you. It really had me thinking! Many of his sermons have been about Christmas recently, since the holiday is almost here. He was speaking about gifts. I think we all have gifts on our mind during Christmas, because of the gifts we give each other, and the gifts we receive. We even read about gifts in the Bible, when we read about the wise men who traveled to see baby Jesus and present him with gifts of gold and precious perfumes. My pastor (his name is Bill) had a question for us that had me thinking quite a bit- if we could give a gift to God, what would it be? We usually think about the gifts God gives us, but what would we give him if we had the chance? Bill then told us about an afternoon he spent with his grandson (I think he is 6 years old.) Bill and his wife were visiting their daughter and her family for Thanksgiving. The grandson likes to play a game called "treasure hunt," where he hides a treasure in a box and then they make a map to go find it. And he said "it has to be a treasure!" A treasure is something very special and valuable- even if it is not worth a lot of money, it may have a special emotional value. So the grandson hid the treasure, and Bill followed the map to find it. When he opened the box, he was surprised to see that the treasure was a bread roll from Thanksgiving dinner the day before! At first, it didn't seem like a treasure- but then Bill remembered that his grandson had eaten four or five of those rolls during dinner! He loved them so much and they were his favorite part of the meal- and he would have eaten more if he could! So this was a treasure to him. Something very special that he wanted to share with his grandfather. Bill asked us what gift we could give to Jesus if we had the chance, and asked the parents in our church to ask their children the same question. On Christmas, the children can bring their gifts and leave them at the altar as a symbol of their gift to God. I can't wait to see what they bring. I wanted to ask you two questions. 1. What is something that you treasure? 2. What would you give to baby Jesus if you had been there when he was born? For me, something I treasure is the Bible that belonged to my friend and mentor Betty, who passed away a few years ago. And I think I would make a soft blanket of the finest yarn for baby Jesus, so he wouldn't have to sleep wrapped in rags and dirty cloths in the manger.
I hope to hear from you soon! I love you so much and I am praying for you every day. I can't wait to learn about your replies to my questions!