Christmas approaches, amidst the usual flurry of shopping and baking and wrapping…parties and gift exchanges, lots of fun, and more than the ordinary show of affection.
I love the holiday season. The cheery spirits, the smiles that are just a touch broader, the eyes that hold a little more of a twinkle. It makes my heart sing when everyone is just a little kinder than they usually are. Just a little more easygoing, a bit more willing to go the extra mile.
But in the darkness behind the lights and decorations…in the silent shadows behind the Christmas carols…somewhere beyond the trees and the gifts there’s a world of heartache. And hunger. A world of want and need.
It’s so easy to forget, surrounded by the laughter and joy of the season, that not everyone has the wherewithal to shop, or the ingredients to mix cookies, cakes and candy. They have nothing to wrap…or unwrap. For them, this most joyous of seasons is not happy, and certainly not fun. It’s the hardest time of year.
Of course, Christmas at its heart is not about any of the things we associate with the holiday.
Christmas is all about Jesus, Who is Love. Jesus, Who traded His kingdom for a lowly manger in a stable built to house animals. Jesus, Who hung out with the poor, with sinners, with the downtrodden. Who loved those same people enough to die for their salvation.
I will never forget one special Christmas, when my four children were all small. My husband had broken an ankle, and was off work. We were already barely getting by, and his injury came as a tremendous financial blow in many ways, not the least of which was that it was just before Christmas. All hope of making the day special for our children was completely dashed.
A couple weeks before the big day, I answered a knock on our door, and found Love standing on my front steps. My brother and his wife, both carrying bags of groceries. While I gaped in disbelief and tears streamed down my face, they returned to their vehicle for more.
Those two Christmas angels issued firm orders that I was to dry my tears and put the groceries away, while they bundled all four of my children into the car and took them Christmas shopping. Somehow my sister-in-law managed to find gifts for each of the kids without them knowing exactly what they were getting. And when they returned home, she hauled in wrapping paper and stayed until every last present was wrapped and placed under our erstwhile bare-looking Christmas tree.
I will always see that as a perfect example of putting Christ in Christmas. Because if this most joyous of holidays is really about Him, then it’s about caring for those less fortunate and going beyond simple caring to active compassion.
This Christmas, why not reach beyond your own family, outside your own comfortable world, to make things a little easier, a little brighter, a bit more joyous for someone else?
- Bless a family with a turkey—or the fixings for an entire Christmas dinner.
- Help an individual in need. Slip them $5—or $20, or $50…you know what you can afford.
- Are they lonely? Perhaps you could invite them to dinner with your family. Are they cold…hungry…alone? What can you do to help?
- Find a child whose Christmas blessings are perhaps fewer than most. An elderly person who could use some company. A family with little means of support. A homeless person. A shut-in.
Opportunity abounds to represent the true spirit of CHRISTmas. Please…seek one out and brighten someone’s life. Do it for the sake of kindness. Do it in the name of humanity.
Do it for yourself…because you’ll never feel more valuable or appreciated than when you help someone else.
But more than all the other wonderful reasons to give a little more…do it to help keep CHRIST in Christmas.