mustard seed conspiracy–Who came to your home for Christmas?

Dr. Tom Sineby tom sine —

I had a surprise visitation to my home for Christmas.  Let me explain.  My friend Dennis Todd gave me an unusual Christmas gift…research he did on my family tree going back 8 generations.  Christmas eve I carefully read through the 18 pages tracing my roots back to the early 1700s.

Christmas morning, like every other morning, Christine and I began the day with a time of prayer and  the appointed scripture for this special day.  Quite honestly not being a person of great faith I always invite those who have gone before me to join me as I pray to God each day.  I always invite Abraham and Sarah, Christ and the apostles plus my parents and grandparents.

As I began to pray Christmas morning I looked up.  I was surprised to find my living room and dining room bursting at the seams.  Not with my usual invitees but with over 200 of my kin that I had never met before.  I knew little of their stories and struggles, but the research revealed large families with 8 to 15 kids were not unusual in our recent past.

I noticed one couple holding a small baby. I wondered if it was William and Margret Sine from York Pennsylvania and their daughter Ruth who was born March 15, 1804 whom I had read about the night before. Christmas 1804 must have been a tough one for this family since Ruth apparently died before the end of that year.  Many of our forbearers not only had large families but struggled to simply subsist.

Nearly 16,000 kids still die every day from hunger related causes even though, according to Bread for the World, the number of poor has declined global in the past decade.  Many of these families find very little to celebrate as they look forward to the beginning of a new year.

Unfortunately, though the numbers of kids dying has declined the commitment of Western governments to the Millennial Goals, to make poverty history by 2015, has declined seriously as well. As we all reflect on the hardships that our forbearers experienced can’t we respond to these needs today by finding a little extra to share with groups like World Concern, World Vision and Tear Fund?

David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World states, “Everything we have achieved for poor and hungry people in the last 35 years is under severe threat of budget cuts—nutrition programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and SNAP (formerly food stamps), as well as poverty-focused development assistance.”

Can’t we not only give more but also join those who support the Circle of Protection  to protect funding for programs that seek to empower our poorest neighbors locally and globally? Join the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Association of Evangelicals, the National Council of Churches, Sojourners, the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, and the Salvation Army.