I have spent some time today reflecting upon an experience my family and I began on this date last year. Twelve months ago today, we were packed and ready to board a plane with 8 other individuals from our church in order to fly over to Europe and serve missionary families. (Pictured above are some of the missionary kids we served and my family in Barcelona Spain)
In my reflections, I have been giving thanks for the opportunity we had last year to take a step of faith out of our comfort zone as a family in order to give my children the "gift of an experience." I love that they still enthusiastically talk about it a year later which they never seem to do with the physical gifts they find wrapped and placed under a tree.
As I contemplate all the preparations we have made for our children this year for Christmas, I am wondering how many of them will really carry long term significance compared to the "gift of an experience" they received last year. I know we will have some fun, build some good memories and enjoy life together but I can't help but wonder how I can work a little harder at providing my entire family with "faith stretching experiences" that carry more of an eternal significance than most of what the kids will receive this Christmas. I can only speculate, but I have no doubt that much of what is received this year will lose its significance in a matter of weeks, months or years at best.
As we move into 2011, I am hopeful that many Christ followers will sincerely look to our God and genuinely ask Him to open up "faith stretching experiences" for our families. I hope for this in order to see God build into our lives those lessons and opportunities that grow and shape us for the cause of Christ.
So for today... I am grateful as I reflect upon last year's experience for my children and I am trusting it will carry some lessons that will have eternal significance as they grow.