This year since all of my regular Christmas decorations are adorning our new storefront, I decided to do “homemade” decorations to go with our family ornaments. When I had asked Dani what they had done to decorate for Christmas at the orphanage, he mentioned that they had made paper chains.
Perfect. That’s what we will do too! It was a win-win since we wanted to do a more low key Christmas for our kiddo anyways, who will be experiencing Christmas for the first real time in his life. We didn’t want to overwhelm our minimalist kid who does not like excess or extras of anything. Keepin’ simple. Or so I thought.
My tree was lacking some of it’s usual pizazz so I decided we would also string up some popcorn and cranberries and hang them on the tree while watching a Christmas movie.
That’s when Daniel made this simple observation that hit me like a ton of bricks.
“American’s play with food. They crazy. Ethiopia, we eat food”
Silence. I had no words. What do you say to that. I wanted to hang my head in shame. Here I was trying to help him feel more comfortable with our “low-key homemade” Christmas and yet I was still playing in excess as we quite literally “played with our food”.
It’s been humbling raising a kid who has come from nothing. And I don’t mean “come from nothing” in the American sense, the way we often toss that phrase around. I mean literally, nothing. No family, no home, no belongings of his own. His values and perspective on many things has cut me to the core, leaving me with this conundrum of how to preserve this precious and dare I say ‘holy’ perspective on what is truly important, what is truly a need versus a want.
I don’t have answers. I am just incredibly thankful that God has set the tone for holidays and gift-giving in our family with this special 13 year old as our first. I LOVE giving gifts, it is truly one of my love languages, and I have made it a priority to give meaningful gifts that matter over the years (just ask my siblings about all the “goats and sheep” that were gifted in their name over the years) ;) But it is truly a challenge in our culture to weed through all the feeds and pop-ups and tweets and ads to not be tempted to need or want more.
So now, when I’m scrolling or I’m walking through Target and that little voice tells me I NEED THAT BECAUSE IT’S ON SALE, I hear my sweet boy’s voice a little louder saying, “Americans play with food. They crazy” and I remember there is a world much bigger then me with much bigger needs and it puts it all into a little bit better perspective.