A COMPASSIONate Christmas, Part 1

So, Christmas is a week from today. Liza and I got our Christmas cards out. Finally. Late, as usual. Some people have started getting them. Well, we decided to do something a little different this year. We included a letter with the card and part of the purpose of the letter was to see if we couldn't get some people interested in sponsoring a child with Compassion. So, for the next week, I'll be posting various stories about my experiences with Compassion and featuring some of the various aspects of Compassion. For the first post, I'm just going to present the letter we included with our card. At the bottom is the picture we put on the card.

Thanks.

There’s something very childlike about Christmastime. Many things just seem to be brighter. More vibrant. Cheerful. Full of life. Joyful. Innocent. Hopeful.

Of course, it makes perfect sense that this would be the case. After all, in the midst of the focus on children’s toys and who gets said toys based on that infamous naughty-and-nice list, this is the time of year that we celebrate the birth of a child. Jesus Christ. The Son of God. Savior. Emmanuel. God with us. In a swaddled baby in a manger we find the fulfillment of all the divine promises ever made and the source of everything that is good and right and true in the universe. The completely unconditional love that so many of us yearningly search for and experience in the most unexpected ways is perfectly personified when that one, sacred newborn opens his eyes and looks upon his parents for the very first time. And as cliché as it might sound, the greatest gift of all is that the opportunity to know that love personally is offered to each and every one of us regardless and in spite of who we are and what we might have done. I can think of nothing that is more hopeful.

Liza and I have sometimes found it to be near impossible to cling to that hope. In our struggles to have children of our own, there were times we wanted to give up, where we cried and screamed at each other and at God about whether or not we would ever have the joy and responsibility of being able to parent a child of our own. However, on July 17 this year our prayers were answered and our hope renewed. Despite the failures of practices and procedures, our God proved faithful. And this year as we celebrate Jesus’ birth we look forward to Story’s. I could never have anticipated how much this has already changed us, how much it has deepened our love for each other, how much it has strengthened our faith, how much it scares us to death. But I know that it is right. I know that God alone deserves credit. And I know that any naysayers about the miraculous in this world can never convince me that they are the enlightened ones.

Through this journey I’ve learned a lot. One of those being that, though our story turned out the way we wanted, that’s not always the case. We live in a fallen world, where for many people “hope” can seem as distant as the farthest star or as fanciful as a unicorn’s ivory. I’ve had the honor to travel a decent amount in parts of the developing world. I’ve seen firsthand how the lies of the enemy can destroy the spirit of people. But everywhere I go, I’ve also seen the light of God shining brighter than all its surroundings and expelling any hint of darkness. In this time of year that is so often about children and God and lights and hope, I’d like to ask you to play a role in some of that work around the world.

Part of my travel has been in partnership with Compassion International, a child advocacy agency that is currently working with over 1 million children in 25 countries. Through the sponsorship of people like us, they provide these children with help in all aspects of their life, social, educational, physical, mental, and spiritual. Liza and I believe in what they do wholeheartedly. I have personally seen their work first-hand at 14 projects in four of their countries. I’ve talked with scores of children in the program as well as alumni who tell me that out of all of the food, clothes, and medical help they received from Compassion, the two most important things it has provided has been introducing them to Jesus and giving them hope: for their future, the future of their family, the future of their city, and the future of their country. My relationship with Luis, Akena and Mey (the three children we sponsor) has also provided me with hope for a future in which people step out of their world to change that of another.

I’ve been an advocate for Compassion since I first became aware of them, before I ever sponsored a child myself or went on a trip to see their work. Now, I’m an advocate more than ever. That’s why in the midst of a worldwide economic crisis during the most financially-draining season of the year, I’m asking you to commit $32.00 a month to change the life of a child, to provide them with hope, to introduce them to the reason that Christmas gets celebrated in the first place. You can find out how by visiting www.compassion.com and can read more of my stories with Compassion by visiting my blog at chriskinsley.wordpress.com. Rest assured that the only benefit I stand to gain from this is the joy I take in knowing another child is going to be okay.

Each of you are special to Liza and me. We are so excited to be able to celebrate this season with you, to share our excitement and anticipation about Story’s impending birth, and to challenge you to sacrifice just a little for a reward that cannot be measured and that might remain unknown to you ‘til we pass from this world to the next. This might be innocent and naïve and idealistic of us, but if it is, so be it. It’s Christmastime, after all, and like I said, there’s something very childlike about it.

Merry Christmas and God Bless,

Chris and Liza Kinsley

Merry Christmas!

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