Though I will post this on Sunday it is the blog for Saturday's service and sacrifice. In all honesty, Saturday was one of the best days I have had in a long time. I spent the entire day with my husband and my son. We did nothing but laugh and giggle, talk about stuff that really didn't have any consequence and basically just enjoy each other.
And as I panicked last night when I realized that I hadn't done anything in service or sacrifice yesterday I was comforted by the thought that I could perhaps use this as a platform to share the service and sacrifice of someone else with you; someone you wouldn't expect; a little girl. Not just any little girl, a princess.
I met Lexie when she was four. All sparkling green eyes and smiles and all girl, Lexie lived in one of her princess costumes... She was all pink tulle and glitter tied up with a nice lavender bow. With long brown hair and a sweet little voice, she was always dressed to the nines and the quick assumption would be that she was spoiled rotten.
But she's not. In fact, she has one of the most loving and giving hearts of any person, young or old, that I have ever met. Lexie is in third grade and has learned the power of pestering. She started pestering her mother about three weeks ago for toys. Here's the catch: the toys aren't for her. The toys are for kids who need them. Her mother was quick to brush her off. It would pass. It didn't. Lexie had an idea and she was going to see it through. When you are seven and you have an idea and you want to see it through, you have to convince someone with authority to take you seriously. Lexie knew that. SHE. DIDN'T. LET. IT. GO. For days, the only thing she would talk about was helping kids get toys for Christmas, helping kids who don't have the the things that she has, helping kids who need a smile because they are sick. She wanted to do something; it was actually more than that. She HAD to do something.
SHE IS SEVEN! Christmas for her is supposed to me a gimme, gimme, gimme! It's supposed to be about visits to Santa and pretty dresses and helping bake cookies. It's not supposed to be about helping other people. That's just... just... well it's wise beyond her years... it's kind of wise beyond my years.
So her mom and dad helped her organize Lexie's Loving Heart Toy Drive. They've got boxes in a couple of places in Mexico and in Columbia and in Centralia. Children at Rainbow House in Columbia and Coyote Hill Christian Children's Home will receive the bounty of Lexie's loving heart this Christmas. But really, she is blessing so many more.
I saw Lexie today, dressed to the nines, of course. She was scrutinizing the collection box we have at our church and I could see a cloud of disappointment scooting across her sweet little face. There really aren't a whole lot of toys in there yet... to a child that must seem so foreign. The idea that when someone wants to help others that grown ups can be the obstacle in the way must just really flummox a kid's brain. Think about how we appear to children. Dogs are willing to give us the benefit of the doubt; but children know us beyond a shadow of a doubt. And though they don't understand the true meaning of hypocrisy, they are witness to more of it than anyone. And yet, there is Lexie, whose heart is open and loving and whose concern this Christmas is not what is under the tree for her, but how many gifts are going to be in the collection boxes for the kids who really need them.
Lexie's sacrifice may not be obvious to adults. Adults will look at it and oooohhhh, and awwwwww, over her because she is giving and say what a wonderful little girl she is, but we don't get the sacrifice. The sacrifice is that Lexie is not thinking about Lexie. I have a difficult time as a 41-year-old person making the sacrifice of not thinking about myself first, about not putting myself first. Lexie is eight years old and she is already making that sacrifice. Dying to self and living to service may take a lifetime for me to learn; Lexie has got it at eight. What is strange is that as we grow older, we lose that knowledge of what a huge deal self-sacrifice is to a child. We know what sacrifice means to us as adults, but we don't realize that when you are a child, the only thing you really have to sacrifice, to give up for others, is yourself. So it's a rare thing when you find a child that will do that, that will insist on doing that.
Lexie is that little girl. Someone who opened her eyes and her heart long before we as a society would have required that of her. And we will require that of her someday, because we as a society use sacrifice as the basis of our belief in charity. But Lexie is a gleaming example of benevolence before it is practiced for anyone else's benefit, long before it is practiced because it is expected. It is the best example of service and sacrifice: it happened because in her heart of hearts she knew that it should.