“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… !”

Two years seemed like a very long time for the intense scarcity, uncertainty, and loneliness due to the COVID-19 pandemic and all that it brought with it for families, friends, students, churches, and everyone all around the world. But now?? Christmas is back, especially in America… in a big way.

Crowds are gathering to celebrate. Parties have resumed. Tree lightings, holiday markets, Christmas concerts, school programs and pageants have returned with vigor and enthusiasm. Everyone is ready to leave the past two years behind and revel in what can only be called an abundance of Christmas cheer.

When we think of an “abundance,” most of us think of more than enough, overflowing, filled to the brim, huge, large, great, magnificent. Maybe even more than we would want. Maybe TOO much.

The word “abundance,” though, can mean different things to different people. To some it means a table full of the finest foods, plates overflowing, and stuffed bellies. To others it means huge, shiny, ribboned packages wrapped under gloriously decorated trees, with beloved family members gathered ‘round wearing matching pajamas and holding steaming cups of cocoa. To still others, “abundance” may simply mean good health for another year and some quiet time to read a long letter from a dear friend.

At Dignity Freedom Network, our eyes are always on the great nation of India. Our hearts have been captured by her beautiful people: the families, the women, the children. India certainly has an abundant population, as well as an abundance of languages and cultures and spices and, sadly, challenges.

We also know that in India, enjoying a “Christmas abundance” might look a little different than what most of us have experienced. Sure, modern India has Christmas trees and sparkling lights and even the occasional Santa Claus. But that’s not where India’s Christmas abundance comes from. The heart of Christmas in India and the abundance we can find there is fundamentally different. But when we dig deep into that difference, it is certain to warm our grinchy hearts, as we witness those who traditionally have nothing now rejoicing in an abundance they can call their own.

For the 100 girls living in DFN’s new shelter:

A Christmas abundance means not having to share one bathroom with 50 other girls.

A Christmas abundance means having enough space in the common room to spread out and do homework, rather than being elbow-to-elbow in a too-small space barely large enough for just a few.

A Christmas abundance means getting a new Christmas dress as a Christmas present. And to see their faces light up with a bright smile when they open the package makes it obvious that they have escaped their world of scarcity.

For the sweet single mama who completed a DFN Skills Training Course:

A Christmas abundance means her new business selling vegetables is thriving because of her business marketing training.

A Christmas abundance means she feels free to give a thank offering of several thousand rupees to her church, knowing that she has a job that is secure and that will provide for her and for her children sustainably into the future.

A Christmas abundance means having the confidence that her children will not go hungry this Christmas, and knowing that she can provide some chicken, a special treat, for their Christmas dinner.

For the active little 6-year-old boy who has been attending a DFN School for 6 months:

A Christmas abundance means he has teachers who love him and have taken an interest in his well-being.

A Christmas abundance means the treatment he received for his parasitic infection cured him and he can finally concentrate on his studies and participate with excited energy in the Christmas program his school will put on.

A Christmas abundance means he can dream of being an astronaut instead of relegating himself to picking up trash as his ancestors have done for generations.

These precious ones in India have redefined the word “abundance”. They know what it is to have nothing. And yet now they know what it is to rejoice in a changed life because of people just like you who have invested in their ability to experience transformation and a reimagined future. Their Christmas abundance is meaningful and lasting. They have an abundance of joy, hope, peace, and faith. And their Christmas abundance can teach us all that our Christmas doesn’t have to be “more than enough,” “filled to the brim,” or “overflowing.”  No. It can be a time when we are thankful for what we have and enjoy providing for others.   

Thank you for doing that this year for the people of India. Merry Christmas to all of you from all of us here at DFN. May your holiday be truly abundant.