Lineup and gift-giving

At a recent Christmas outreach to our students, we asked them to think about what Christmas would be like if they didn't receive a single gift. In my group, I only sensed a slight hesitation before the, "No," followed a shake of the head. I don't know what I was expecting... sunday school answers, I guess. But, when I heard their honest admission, I asked the same question of myself.

Lately, I've been racking my brain, trying to think of things to put on my Christmas list. You know - family and friends are thoughtfully asking what would make the perfect gift and I'm grateful to oblige. I hear myself saying, "Well, I have several pairs of slacks, but I could use a few more. I've been wearing these for several years now ... I guess I could use some money on an iTunes giftcard, you know I'm always wanting new music ... You know, now that I think of it, a toaster oven would be so nice to have in the apartment so we didn't have to toast bread over the open flame on the gas stove ..."

Even writing these now sends a shameful shiver up my arms. We only get one life and I'm asking for a toaster oven? Really?

I know that part of giving gifts is that they have to be received on the other end. I get that.

I guess I just wish I would understand that I do not need gadgets and frills and, well, stuff. Why is it I desire things that are so... I don't know, rusty. That's it - things that will rust. Why, instead, don't I find contentment in the necessities? I know - it's the same question every year.

Looks like I'm going to need to be in prayer this week. I know the return trip to the States will be more than overwhelming in all sorts of ways. But, I am so so so excited to see my family, play in the snow, have wrestle fights with my brothers, drink coffee in the mornings with my sister and mom, and YES sit on the heater in the dining room in the early morning when it is cold!

Here's the lineup for this week, we'll see how it goes:

feelings on leaving
I'm not sure how I feel about leaving this place. I've settled into life here and I know that 2 weeks throws a pretty large wrench in the system.

Christmas countdown
Here's a list of things I LOVE at Christmastime.

creative gifts
I have been in the past, but this year I'm trying even more to give gifts with meaning and my own personal touch. My family has been sending out gift lists for awhile, but I hope they don't mind me doing my own thing. :)

adventures of the life I wish I led
I realize that every adventure I write is only an introduction to the actual action ... so this week I'm going to try to write when something actually happens :).

grab bag
pictures, updates, comedy, art ... who knows?

much love to you all this week