I decided to venture to the mall yesterday to finish my Christmas shopping. It was a madhouse! I drove the parking lot several times looking for an empty spot, and then spent a couple hours fighting traffic inside the mall. To me, people-watching is fascinating, and I noticed several things yesterday. There were certainly individuals enjoying themselves, but a lot of shoppers were visibly stressed with the “demands” of the Christmas season.

I’ve been hearing it a lot lately…people complaining and stressed. To some, everything seems so busy. So overwhelming. So expensive.

So NOT how Christmas was intended to be!

Then I ran across this video called “Advent Conspiracy.” Please take a moment to watch, and truly listen with your heart.

My family has purposed to keep Christmas more minimal this year as far as gifts and commercialism are concerned…which allows us to make so much more about JESUS-the entire reason for this season. I have struggled with just exactly how this should look. I was searching for a way to teach my children the dire needs of others. I want them (and myself!) to be reminded of how very blessed we are, regardless of the amount of gifts given this season.

Which brings me to the purpose of this post…an opportunity I ran across for my family and potentially my blog readers to impact the lives and needs of children around the world through a ministry called “Mary’s Meals.” Take a look:

My good friend/neighbor has begun a journey of collecting $11,500 in order to give the gift of a fully furnished kitchen to a public school in Malawi. Mary’s Meals has impacted the lives of hundreds of children, giving them the nourishment they so desperately need. The meal is given in a public school building, which also enables these hungry children to be given an education at the same time as their physical nourishment.

My friend has divided it in such a way that this large amount of money can be reached if 31 individuals commit to raising $371. She’s encouraging each of the 31 individuals to split that 10 ways, requiring only $37.10 per individual. And so I’m wondering…would 9 of my blog readers join me in donating $37.10 to this cause? Not only will we impact the lives of many African children, I believe we’ll impact our own lives as well. My children will join me in donating this money, and a priceless lesson can be learned through it. My friend has told me that each donor will be added to an email list, where she will be able to email picture updates on the status of the kitchen we’ll be funding. How cool for our children to see with their own eyes what a large impact their money had from across the globe!

To be honest, this is so weird for me to ask this…I’m not one to usually ask for donations for anything. However, it was just really heavy on my heart that I at least share this opportunity. No pressure whatsoever. But, if you feel so led, please leave a comment on this post, or send me an email, or give me a call…I’ll give you more specific directions on how to donate. She is wanting this to be a “Christmas Kitchen,” meaning the donations need to be in by December 20th in order for the gift to be mailed in time for Christmas. What a gift!! If we get a group to reach that $371, we can even name our donation group, and that name will appear with the gift sent to Malawi. And, of course, I’ll keep each individual updated on the status of our gift. How fun to watch this gift unfold for many years to come!

I’m thankful today. For you….each one of you. Thanks for reading! Remember…Jesus is the reason for the season. Slow down, contemplate, and give thanks!