With the stroke of midnight just over five minutes away on the US East Coast, many of us will celebrate what Christians consider one of the the most important holidays of our faith…Christmas. For those of us who find the season and the reason a joyous one of praise, reflection, and thanksgiving for all of our many blessings, I encourage us to pray for and speak life and restoration into the lives of those for whom this time of year is anything but a joyous occasion. Some people have experienced the loss of a loved one, are un/underemployed, going through separation or divorce, or they may be in a new city or Country that is far away from family, friends, and familiar acquaintances; or have other life issues pressing on them and may find it difficult to celebrate. They may be strong believers, but one of life’s curve balls has zapped their strength and rendered them weak at the moment. But for the grace of God, it could have been us and may have been in the past, and/or may be us in the future. We each have our turn.
Lets look for the opportunity to be a blessing to someone else who may be struggling with a life challenge. I have a person who is like my Mom away from home who is battling stage 4 breast cancer. She used to love my cornbread dressing, but she barely has an appetite these days. What I have decided to do is take her a plate just in case she has at least enough of an appetite to nibble a little of what used to be one of her favorite foods. I will also visit with her a little after Christmas to keep her company. Sometimes I just let her talk about what she is experiencing. We sometimes do not know just how much such a gesture can positively impact someone because we are giving of ourselves.
My husband and I are also endeavoring to teach our son the importance of caring about what others may be going through and to look for opportunities to be of service to others. We are teaching him to not focus so much on what he receives, but rather on ways that he can give to others. We are teaching him that when you give of yourself that it can be worth more than any gift bought with money.
One of things that I am most proud of during the holiday season is that most appear to show a bit more compassion towards each other, but somehow and sometime between the day after Christmas and mid-January, most of that compassion seems to disappear.
I am challenging each of us to lets strive to take the focus off ourselves and to make this season of kindness last throughout the year. Let us show the fruit of the Spirit towards each other by being loving, patient, kind selfless, etc. Remember, we are God’s representatives to the world everyday, not just a couple of months out of the year. And just as Jesus often reminded man, we are here to serve, not to be served. I can guarantee you that something amazing will happen…even if you were feeling down, your spirits will be lifted somehow. If we continue to make it a life habit we will find it easier to deal with life’s many challenges because we will always remember that even when things are off-kilter, we still have many blessings to count.
Merry Christmas to everyone!