A Tough Christmas
Compared to Christmases past, this was a difficult Christmas. We weren't able to purchase gifts for all of our extended family or any of our friends. Gift-giving to our children paled in comparison to other families we know. Our children have friends who had dozens of gifts to unwrap. We know a family who went on two cruises as part of their Christmas. It's easy to feel poor in comparison.
Then I drove past these charred remains and realized what they meant. In moments, a family lost everything. Then I remember the families affected by Hurricane Sandy who are still trying to rebuild their homes and lives.
In the days before Christmas, even on Christmas day, we heard of one tragedy after another that ended in human lives lost. Parents left childless. Children left parentless. I can't imagine they care about the packages under their trees.
We have friends whose focus shifted from opening gifts Christmas morning to just wanting their loved ones home from the hospital on Christmas Day. Other friends looked forward to celebrating Christmas in the hospital -- grateful their loved ones were still alive.
Suddenly, I'm feeling rich. I heard someone say radical giving is difficult for Americans because we have no idea how wealthy we are. A great number of the world's seven billion people live on less than $2/day. That's who I need to be comparing myself to, so I can be grateful for all I have and willing to give to those less fortunate.
Turns out this wasn't a tough Christmas after all.