Here’s the song reference.
We added four living children to our family in the space of 49 months, beginning in May of 2007 and ending in June of 2011. As a result, we have a quantity of baby stuff that could supply a small town. After a great deal of prayer and not a few tears, we arrived at the conclusion recently that it is time to start giving some of our bounty away. We had planned to keep a couple of particularly cherished items for when we became grandparents, but in the end, decided that we have too many friends and neighbors who have real needs for the things we have to hold on to them for sentimental reasons. In the end, Manie and I said to each other, it’s just stuff. We love people, we use things, and when the people we love need things, we give them what we have.
That sounds so easy when you’re saying it, so noble and full of the exercise of the faith in Christ we cherish. It’s not so easy when you’re loading the boxes filled with the things our pregnant friend doesn’t need into the back of the station wagon for delivery to a charity who will give them to families who have been blessed differently than ours. It’s also not so easy when Bugaboo and Beanie come out of their rooms to investigate the cause of all the racket and see playthings that have been their constant companions for 5 1/2 and 4 1/2 years, respectively, being gently placed into boxes.
We explained to them, as we have done so many times before, that we are called to share what we have. Both of our tired daughter were able to name examples of times when we had put money in a basket, put gas in a stranger’s car, or when they had rifled through their own toys to find things to give away, things that they no longer played with but that would delight another child. This was different, though. This wasn’t, “okay, we don’t play with this any longer,” this was, “hey, wait, I love that thing!”
Therein lay the lesson, for all of us. A goodly part of our homeschooling day today will be spent sorting through a lot of things we have in the house that really need to find homes where they’ll be used and appreciated. This is part of our Advent every year (all of our parents are still living, and we therefore end up with a great deal of new stuff every Christmas, so there’s a practical aspect to it), but there’s a different dimension to it this year, I think, because of Nonno’s illness. It is nearly embarrassing to recall the tears my husband and I have shed over things, that we have set that example for the tiny people, when we consider how the loss of things pales in comparison to the grief we share in the knowledge that we will soon be losing Nonno.
Peace be with you.
Today’s prayer: Lord, thank You for Your little blessings, and for the full complement of grandparents who have welcomed all of them into the world. Thank You for the material abundance with which you have blessed our family, and for the opportunities You have provided to share Your bounty with those whom You have blessed in other ways. Thank You also for reminding us that, in every wise, loving each other is more important than loving our stuff. Please help us to be gentle stewards of our earthly possessions and to be tender-hearted towards the person, not the thing, when others have need of our worldly goods.