Thanksgiving through New Years is my absolute favorite time of year – people seem friendlier, Christmas music, Christmas shopping for friends and family, parties, beautiful and creatively decorated Christmas trees, amazing food, amazing lights and decorations, awkward yards filled with blow up holiday characters, Christmas movies, and I love hearing people share their views and perspectives on the birth of Jesus. I love everything about this season!!!
This morning I had an interesting 45-minute drive to work. The heat was blasting, Christmas songs were playing, and I was singing like I was Mariah Carey at the Grammy’s. But, as I listened to the words of some of the songs “all is calm, all is bright”, “war is over”, etc I felt this deep emotion stir in the pit of my stomach and I ended up crying most of my ride to work (thank you Smashbox for waterproof mascara, am I right?).
As I listened I felt the Holy Spirit remind me that while this may be my favorite season there are thousands of people who struggle during this season. God shared His heart with me for those people. My heart wept for the wives married to men who will beat them through the Holiday season and gives them false hope on Christmas Day with expensive gifts and empty promises of change. My heart wept for the families who are grieving the death of a loved one. I wept for the families walking through trauma and pain. I wept for the families who are living in the slums and can barely afford coats or heat to get through the winter. I wept for all the children who lost parents this year and are having their first Christmas without their mom or dad. I wept for the woman whose husband is in a coma and isn’t expected to wake up and will be spending the Holidays rushing between work, the kids, and the hospital. I wept for the man working 3 jobs just to provide a roof over the heads of his wife and kids and cannot afford presents for his family. I wept for the families living out of cars and vans with no hope of finding housing before Christmas. My heart broke for the homeless who have no family and nowhere to go to celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas. My heart wept for the thousands of families displaced by war, trying to find some sense of normality in a foreign country. I cried for the foster child living in a group home. My heart broke for the teen girl being molested by a relative she has to constantly see at family gatherings. I wept for the parents who have kids struggling with addiction who will be absent from their family gatherings. I broke for those who have families living in war-torn countries who are more concerned with staying alive than decorating a Christmas tree. I was saddened for the kid who gets bullied because his parents are too poor to afford new clothes or even school supplies this year. I wept for those who feel suicidal and depressed while their friends attend parties and spend Christmas with their loving, close families. My heart broke for all the people who the world is not “merry and bright” and “all is not calm and all is not bright”, and feel they have no reason to be joyful or peaceful.
I am a feeler and feel all the things. I am a person who feels the deeps aches of the Father’s heart for
other people which motivates me to advocate for people being abused, the poor, refugees, women, minorities, children, etc. This morning as I drove to work with tears pouring down my face the Father spoke to me so deeply about His heart for the people in the situations I mentioned above.
Father God gave the world the most wonderful gift – His Son, Jesus. He freely gave this gift to a selfish, conceited, and consumer driven America. He freely gave this gift to war-torn Syria. He freely gave this gift to the homeless, addicted, and neglected. He freely gave this gift to girls being abused, porn stars, prostitutes, strippers, and teen moms. He gave this gift to dictator run North Korea. God sent the world Jesus knowing one day He would have to watch His Son suffer a gruesome and humiliating death. God gave us this gift knowing many would not choose Him and would mock or deny the death of His Son. Jesus willingly left His amazing home in Heaven, with His Father, and gave Himself freely as a gift to every single one of us. Jesus was the ultimate Christmas gift, one made available to every person regardless of age, race, political party, or gender.
I was reminded this morning of how deeply God aches for people, how much He desires to see His church being His hands and feet during this season (and every season), and how much God wants the gift of His Son Jesus to be received by all of us. While I know the Church should be taking care of the poor, abused, etc ALL YEAR – I also know that Christmas is an especially hard time for some people and it is the church’s job to step in and do what we can to help those in need.
There is something magical and wonderful about Christmas and I want to be able to share that with others. I want to help others enjoy this time of year or if nothing else just get through it without feeling excluded or lonely – if I can. I want to help meet the needs of people in my community – whether it is through buying coats, presents for families in need, school clothes for children, adopting a family for Christmas, serving at a shelter, feeding the poor and homeless, etc. At a time when we celebrate the ultimate gift – Christ – I want to be a person who makes that gift known to other people. I want people to see Jesus in me this season.
Give the gift of Jesus to others through sincere love, generosity, service, kindness, compassion, and spreading hope, joy, and peace. You can make a difference in someone’s life this Christmas season.
(Note: I know some people will read this and think, “Well, those things happen all year round” or “people need our help all the time”, etc. Please understand that I know that but am talking specifically about the Holiday season which can be especially hard for people going through lack, abuse, war, traumatic home environments, feeling alone, struggling, etc. So, read it through that lense.)