Thursday, October 30, 2008

Water For Christmas

My birthday is at the end of August, and I had a hard time telling my mom what I wanted her to give me. She finally just sent me a check, and I used the money for a tool to check and set the neck angle on a guitar. It’s a nice tool to have, but it’s not a necessary tool; a good straight-edge and a ruler are all that’s really needed. I only bought it because I had the money and needed to do something with it.

When I saw my folks about a month ago before they left on a three-week trip to Mississippi, Mom said, “OK, Christmas is coming and I need some ideas. I don’t want to wait too long.” I mumbled something about thinking about it, but it was kind of frustrating. I don’t need anything, really. I’m just about done building my first on-my-own guitar, so I obviously have all the tools needed to build a guitar. I have clothes in my closet that I don’t wear; I don’t really need any more shirts or jeans or anything. I have more sweaters than I can wear, so I don’t really need or especially want any more sweaters. But I figured I would look in a catalog and pick some things out that would be nice to have, clean out my closet and armoire and give some perfectly good clothes to Goodwill.

Fast forward to the Spiritual Renewal Weekend. At the Thursday Praise Team practice, Andy Landers was talking about what to expect during the weekend, and in the midst of talking about how he and his wife Jody were led to get involved with the suffering in Sierra Leone, he mentioned that lack of clean drinking water is the #1 killer in the world, that Americans will spend $330 billion at Christmas and it would only take $10 billion to dig enough wells to give every person in the world clean water.

And I thought, “That’s what I want for Christmas. What I want for Christmas is water.

I didn’t mention this to anyone; I hadn't even committed to do it. At the time it’s just a thought. Thursday night I do a little research online, and there are lots of organizations that are working toward digging fresh water wells in poverty-stricken areas of the world. It was a bit overwhelming.

I hadn’t decided to do anything until just before the Sunday night session started, so Jody and Andy Landers were surprised to hear me announce that all I want for Christmas is water.

After the session as Jody is loading Zeke and Kora into Chip and Marcie’s van, she said to me, “I was excited to hear you say something about water for Christmas, because we are setting something up for that. You can get involved with us if you want, or do your own thing.”

Since they were leaving early the next morning but none of us were ready to say goodbye, I went over the Chip and Marcie’s where the Landers were staying, and Jody showed me the “Water for Christmas” artwork and website that they had been working on.

That’s what I call a holy convergence.

Jody and Andy have set up a Water For Christmas fund with A lot of research went into picking this organization, and they were very impressed with them. 100% of donations go to digging wells, and they provide training to the locals on upkeep and maintenance of the well. Charity: Water said that there was a huge need for wells in Liberia, so Water for Christmas will raise money for that region.

I want to make it clear that this is something I am doing because I want to do it. I don’t believe that it is something that everyone has to do in order to be in good shape with Jesus. I love Christmas, and I love giving gifts and receiving gifts. I still plan to give my family gifts, and I don’t expect them to give up receiving Christmas gifts to join me in this endeavor. I don’t believe for a second that it makes me a better Christian or a better person than anyone else. Each year when I’m asked what I want for Christmas I list different things. This is what I’m listing this year. Who knows what will be on my list next year.

So, if you want to join me in saying, “All I want for Christmas is water,” great, but don’t do it out of guilt or obligation or anything like that or else you will have a miserable Christmas. Do it because you want to. Maybe you will want to give up one gift for water. Or simplify Christmas dinner and give the savings to Water for Christmas. Do what seems right for you.

I also don’t believe that we should force this on anyone. Don’t tell your children, “I’m not giving you any gifts for Christmas; we’re going to give water this year.” That will just breed resentment. If you want to give up Christmas gifts for water, then do that, and let your family members do what they want to do. I think you will be pleased. Children have pretty big hearts if we don’t force things on them.

Keep checking back here for updates on the Water For Christmas project and how you can participate.

Oh, by the way, one woman came up to me during the Sunday night session of the Spiritual Renewal Weekend and said, “God told me to help with the water,” and handed me a check for $500.

And so it begins.

© 2008 Larry L. Eubanks

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