Christmas is closing in on us.
Those of us who are Grinch’s are busy complaining about the traffic, the commercialism and all the money spent on gifts.
As a person who has been a believer for most of his life this shouldn’t be a struggle… but it is.
How can a believer not be kind in this season?
I could blame it on the commercialism of Christmas. We are constantly tempted to buy or charge what we think we need, all in the name of Christmas. We slave away for 11 months trying to pay off the Christmas debts because we can’t say “NO”. Christmas is no longer about the Savior; it is about the savings for things we really don’t need.
I could even blame it on Santa.
I could rant about the fact that people have lost the true meaning of what Christmas is all about. Christmas is not about the manger; it is about marketing and materialism. Christmas is not about God, is about gifts and getting. The little drummer boy now has to take his no hassles credit card and charge a brand new Peavy drum system. Why? Because his little drum is not enough for the baby Jesus.
But in truth, none of those excuses are valid as to why I struggle during this season of celebration.
I am short-sighted when it comes to being the example of Christ is the season of celebrating His existence. My focus is on me and my situation. Not in ways of getting gifts. In fact, I am not a fan of getting presents. It’s awkward for me and I am always uncomfortable with the process. I am good giving presents but I hate to receive.
I struggle during this season because I can overly focus on my time… my plans and my comfort. I could live without the decorations and I just want to stay home. I am good with ordering my gifts for others through Amazon.
I acknowledge that as a Believer, I need to be active and show kindness in this time of season. To be intentional with a very simple thing- a kind word.
The easiest thing to do is be kind.
As Paul wrote to the Ephesians and said,
“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
It means seeing others and speaking to their heart need: encouragement.
To be kind… looks like encouragement for the cashier as she frantically tries to check you out. It’s being aware of those around you and taking a moment to lift them up with a simple, but kind word. It’s about paying for the person behind you at McDonalds, letting someone in line ahead of you at the store, helping another with their bags, opening a door for a frazzled mom, sending a note of encouragement to someone you haven’t talked to in a while.
The list is endless, but it begins with these simple words from Jesus who gave us the formula for how to live in this season, in fact in every season, when he said,
“Give, and you will receive. Your gift (kindness) will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”
As I go into these last days, like everyone else, I try to remember the many people for whom this is not a joyous time of the year. With themes of joyous parties, happy families and generous giving surrounding us, those who struggle with depression, estranged family and/or economic survival are often forgotten. I don’t lift this up in order to compel feelings of guilt or to cast aspersions on folks who are living large during this time, but simply as a nod and a word to those who struggle with these times to say that you are loved.
- You are loved by people who you might not expect.
- You are loved by God.
And yes, I know that my words offered on a blog post will not heal your spirit, reconcile families or feed your body, but in this, I hope you know that there are many who show this love not only during the holidays or not only with words, but who are there for and with you when you need them. I don’t know where the words and actions will come for you, but I believe there are those people for all of us: it might be your neighbor who has invited you to join them for a meal, or maybe it’s that stranger sitting at the table next to you at the cafe with whom you share a brief conversations or when it is really bad, it’s that suicide-hotline that you never would have imagined that you would ever need.
Scripture is filled with admonitions to love others, to care for the needy and show the love of Christ as we live our lives.
So, while I wish those who are struggling all of the joy, peace, hope and love that I can muster, my greatest hope is that you know deep in your soul that you are not alone.
The greatest witness you can offer to the world you walk in each day is kindness.
The kindness that invites others to smile, give someone an encouraged heart, maybe a new hope.
Make it your goal, for the rest of this year, to look for at least one person in your day to whom you can give a kind word.
You never know… you might discover an exciting new way to share the love of Christ in this crazy world we live in and after all… tis the season.
Merry Christmas to everyone… even to those of us that struggle through it.