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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Merriest Christmas Ever

Do people care about the needy more during the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas? It seems so to me.

Red kettles at malls and sidewalk tripods remind us that homelessness and hunger are all around us, on our streets and in our neighborhoods.

Media announcements about the location of Angel Tree and Toys for Tots collection points remind us of the desperate situation in which many children live.

Operation Christmas Child and other Shoe Box missions supported by the churches acknowledge even greater need world wide.

Yes, people do care. And even those with little are generous to share.

We share. We give. Food and clothes, gifts and toys.

In 40 years of ministry I’ve had the opportunity to meet many families across the United States and some overseas who have been helped at Christmastime. With such help they enjoyed a welcome rest and temporary relief from the stress of their immediate needs. They were genuinely grateful.

But more importantly, they were deeply touched. Somebody cared. Somebody knew their name and their plight, somebody who set aside all judgments and prejudices and really cared. They felt God’s love.
• a love that gave them hope, hope that someday their trials would end
• a love that gave them dignity and self-respect, worth and value
• a love that drew them out of isolation and gave them someone to be with.

The American practice of Holiday giving, caring, and sharing is powerful.

Now, imagine what would happen if we could bring these same life-giving gifts into our own homes and daily relationships. Whoa!

What if we could see the needs of those closest to us with the same lack of judgment and prejudice, and just love them. Sweet!

In the time remaining before Christmas, which of these precious gifts can you share? Hope. Dignity. Blessing. Worth.

Everyone you know needs them. So make a list. Check it twice. Then be generous, forgiving, helpful and non-judgmental. And your Christmas will be the merriest ever.

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