Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Joblessness, Christ, and Christmas

MSN has an article today about those whose 99 day extension of unemployment benefits are expiring this week and reading it, I know how they feel. Right now we are in the same boat. While our unemployment for Chris hasn't stopped yet, next year at this time, it will have been gone since July.
These are the days where we hold tightly to the promise in Jeremiah "I know the plans I have for you." And in Matthew when Jesus tells us that God takes care of the birds of the field and the lilies of the valley, so how much more will he care for his children (That passage is Matthew 6:25-34 if you want to look it up.). And while we are trusting God, we also realize that we in fact, very fortunate. While others are losing their homes right and left, we have a semi-manageable house payment, we don't have credit cards and haven't since 2006, there are a lot of reasons we could be in a lot worse shape than we are in right now. We also know that if it comes to blows, Chris will take a reduction in rank and will go back to Active Duty for the Military. I will finish my Bachelor's Degree next year, I plan to return in the Fall. We know that Chris will be deploying this next year, while it stinks and we hate that he has to consider volunteering for this, we also know that it is necessary to maintain our home.
Papers and new syndicates have finally gotten onboard and are calling this The Great Recession. I have to agree and I also have to wonder why did they wait so long? We have over 9% unemployment in our country right now - considering how many millions of people live in the U.S. legally, that number is staggering. Many families are looking to just keep a roof over their head, forgetting about Christmas all together, because they don't have the money to do anything.
This is my plea for those of you are still doing okay and still have a job. First, Please join us in prayer for our country and our leaders as they face very tough decisions right now. Pray they are able to work together to do what is best for the American people. Second, I urge you to pay off as much of your debt as possible AND DO NOT KEEP CREATING MORE DEBT for yourself.
As a Christian, we are called to be good stewards with our money. Never are we seeing the reasons why than now, when people are losing homes, have collectors searching for them because they owe thousands if not more in debt. Now is not the time to acrew more debt, it is a time to pay off your debts, if you lose your job, it will mean the difference between making ends meet and losing everything. Do you have a large house? Consider opening it up to those who need a home right now. There are families who are literally being moved out of their homes now.
I remember watching Cinderella Man, and reading as well as watching "The Journey of Natty Gann". The scenarios where people are being forcibly removed from their homes is a very real probability today. Your children probably go to school with kids right now who are only eating breakfast and lunch because their parents must choose between paying the rent to keep a roof over their heads or buying food and they may not have food stamps or seeing as it's at the end of the month, they are finding the food is running out. This is a time when we can show Christ's compassion to those in need. It isn't always easy, but in those small acts of kindness, we can show Christ to a hurting world to those who otherwise might not even consider God at all.
For years our country has turned it's back on Christ. For years, we lived in relative prosperity, as in the early 1900's our country enjoyed living above our means and buying extravegantly. As the 1920's ended in 1929 we saw the Stock Market crash in a way no one ever thought it would and the life of the Roaring 20's ended dramatically with people jumping out of windows or killing themselves because they were now paupers. The 1930's saw The Dust Bowl happen in Oklahoma and the midwest part of our country. It saw families moving in together, families seperating, as children went into orphanages because that was preferrable to watching them starve to death. The 1930's saw our country struggling just to put food on a table. Interestingly enough, America joining the fight in World War II saw our country begin to thrive again. Jobs became a possibility again and people were able to find work.
So today let's go to God in Prayer.
You know the trials we are all facing. You know many are losing homes, becoming w/o homes, many are hungry and tired and are facing what they never thought would happen - they are losing all their material possession. Help us as we face these tough times to remember You are there and will meet our needs. Be with those who are looking at a sparce Christmas, if a Christmas at all. Watch over us all and help us find You in all of this. Bring our country back to you and help us all work together to be sure we help take care of those less fortunate. Please Lord, in all of this help us remember that You are the Reason we celebrate Christmas at all.
Help our government as they work together to find long term solutions to a problem that is going to continue happening. Help our country to learn from this Great Recession that spending your money isn't always what is best, to be smart with our money. Help our country find You and find that Your Ways are higher ways.
Have a good week and we are praying for you in our household today.
Love in Christ,

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