Don't Save it all for Christmas Day
Don't Save It All for Christmas Day
Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Feliz Navidad! Etc …. Ok, I admit … I love the Christmas season as much as anybody. I love the sights, the smells, the family traditions and all of the excitement of the season but at the same time …I can’t help thinking that we are missing something very important. Oh, that’s right … Christ! Now, I know what you are thinking this is just another hub about how we have taken Christ out of Christmas and you are certainly right but I want to take it a step further. Christmas is more than remembering that Christ was born … it is about remembering that He gave the greatest gift … Himself.
Christmas is a wonderful time of the year but life still goes on … and for some Christmas may not be a celebration but a challenge. Right now, even as I am writing … a man’s wife of thirty years lies dying in a hospital …he is saying goodbye to his lifelong companion. Across the street another person is sitting in a coffee shop entertaining the thought that she would be better off dead as no one would miss her if she just slipped away into death after taking the sleeping pills left over from last years bout with depression and sleeplessness. Down the road a teenage boy is holding his father’s gun in his hand contemplating whether or not to pull the trigger or go inside to help decorate the Christmas tree. A homeless family is trying to stay warm as Mommy and Daddy with quivering lips and a smile tell their children that this will be the only Christmas they will have to stay in their car because daddy is going to get a job really soon and things will get better.
And then there is us … We walk by the man in the hallway of the hospital hurriedly never noticing the tears streaming down his face because we hate hospitals, it is Christmas and we don’t want to be there. We could have offered him a shoulder to cry on or a hand to hold but … that would take too much time. At the coffee shop, we are waiting impatiently for the woman that is sipping her coffee way too slowly to get up from her table because the shop is crowded during the Christmas holidays and why is she just sitting there? We don’t take the time to wonder if she might need someone to encourage her and buy her another cup of coffee. The teenage boy is our son’s best friend and we noticed something was not quite right with him today but decided to wait until next week to address it with him because we need to get to the store for some last minute items for Christmas dinner that we forgot to pick up. If we had taken that minute, he may not be looking down the barrel of a gun … he may have shared that he was lonely and felt out of place in his own home. We look in disgust at the family in their vehicle … don’t they know that it is Christmas Eve? Why aren’t they in a hotel or shelter somewhere instead of shivering in 30 degree weather? We are too caught up judging the circumstance rather than offering to allow them to come home with us and perhaps spend Christmas in front of a warm fire, sipping mulled cider and singing carols with our family.
What would Jesus do? We hear this bantered around in Christian circles when we are trying to make a point but I am honestly asking the question … What would he do? He would give Himself. He would take the hand of the gentleman whose wife is dying … and hold it while he wept. He would have asked the lady at the coffee shop if she would like some company and could he buy her another cup of coffee. He would have told the young teenage boy that he was welcome to stay telling him that he had noticed he seemed a little discouraged ... was there anything that he needed to talk about? He would have knocked on the window of that car and invited the family into the warmth of his dwelling place offering them the best of everything that he had from food to shelter.
Yes, let’s put Christ back in Christmas by being more sensitive to what is going on in the lives of others and making an effort to give a little bit of ourselves away during this season. I challenge you as you are about your normal Christmas holiday bustle … take note of that sales clerk that got chewed out by the customer before you and give her a word of encouragement. Leave a little extra tip for the waitress that is serving you your Egg Nog milkshake because she may be a single mother and could use the extra money. Go to the Nursing Home down the street with your children and serve some hot chocolate with cookies to the elderly or even invite them over for Christmas dinner because some of them don’t have families. Invite your teenage daughter’s friends over for some games and warm cider. Do something for someone that you don’t know and who doesn’t know you …
Give yourself away this Christmas just as Christ gave himself away so that we could have life more abundantly. Lord, I praise you for your sacrifice and I pray that we would all sacrifice for someone else this Christmas. Now, Lord … what would you have me to do?