’Tis the season our focus turns to giving. Those who have lain dormant thus far, spring to life in these six weeks of the Christmas season, and a flurry of gift giving, donations and volunteering ensues. It’s a beautiful thing to see so many focus on others, wanting everyone to know a bit of Christmas magic. Yet, all too soon January rolls around, and the glow of the season gets packed away along with the festive decorations. Our focus turns back to ourselves, our families, our jobs, our needs, our wants, our comfort and joy.
It is awesome to give coats to the cold, food to the hungry, and gifts to children; good, decent, moral people, do just that. When we have so much, we are called to help those with less and meet their physical needs. No person should be cold or hungry in the richest nation in the world! No child should have to wake up on Christmas to be disappointed. Yet, anyone can hand out a coat, deliver a box of groceries, take a name off the angel tree and care for the needs of today. Food will be eaten, coats will wear out, toys will break and all will need to be replaced at some point.
As a Christ follower, I am called to be set apart. If I simply give a coat, I am no different than any other good-hearted person. If I write a check or swipe my card for a donation, I am generous like thousands of others. The only thing I can give that will truly make a difference, will truly set me apart is the message of Jesus and his love. Jesus and all he provides; today, for the season, forever. Eternal hope. Unyielding joy. Peace that surpasses earthly circumstances. Contentment beyond understanding.
The desire we feel for others to have a great Thanksgiving and a blessed Christmas, needs to become something greater, more permanent. I don’t want someone to simply experience joy for six weeks, I want them to know eternal joy. I want them to be blessed and find fulfillment that isn’t temporary or based on the size of their holiday meal or gifts under the tree. I want them to know Christ, as a personal savior, sustainer, provider, comforter and ultimate hope.