It dangled from a peg with the displayed Christmas ornaments. The miniature, rainbow-colored xylophone with its tiny mallet caught my eye. I smiled as I pictured my eight-month old grandson, Cam, banging on his toy xylophone. He creates music only a grandparent can love.
This Christmas, I decided to continue a tradition my mother began 30 years ago. Each year, she chose and dated an ornament for my daughters. When we decorated our tree, we unwrapped the ornaments and remembered. Seventeen years ago, my mother entered her Heavenly home. Now, the box of ornaments represents precious memories of her and Christmases together.
In Lima, Peru, 3,600 miles away, a nine-year old boy creates music with his xylophone. My husband and I sponsor Israel through Compassion International. Israel’s recent letter shared the news of his musical adventure with a xylophone. I smiled. There is something special about boys and xylophones.
I held the mini xylophone ornament in my hand and considered my choices. For $15.95, it could adorn my grandson’s first Christmas tree. But images of Israel and other children in need around the world came to mind.
The choice became clear; a new tradition born.
My husband and I explored Compassion’s Christmas gift catalog. For less than $15.95, a baby and mother can eat for a month, a child can be protected from parasites, or receive an age-appropriate Bible. All life-giving. All giving back gifts.
On the tree this year, amongst the cherished ornaments, will be one representing the choice to bless others. A dated note to Cam explaining his first ornament: a mother and her baby ate for a month.
Our tradition will remind Cam Christmas is about giving back not getting more. As he gets older, he will choose how to bless others.
There will be no mini xylophone on Cam’s tree this year. One day, we will share with Cam the $15.95 difference he made. A giving-back tradition.
Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. Matthew 25:40 (NIV)