©2008, Vicki Hinze
We’re busy making Christmas lists–both of things we want and things we want to give others.
We shop, often until we drop–multiple times–seeking the perfect gift for that someone special to us, often going to amazing lengths to make sure everything is just so, that the perfect gift is not only acquired but presented wrapped perfectly in the perfect paper and trimmed with the perfect bow.
We search our minds and hearts and speak blessings over our gifts, anticipating the reaction of that special someone when s/he sees it, opens it. We eagerly await the ooohs and ahhhs and the squeals of joy and pure, unabashed delight.
We take joy in giving. Heartfelt and sincere. Open and honest in child-like glee.
We relish the scents: fresh pine from our trees and wreaths, cookies baking, roast turkey filling the house. Cider and cinnamon and all the unique Christmas scents we reserve only for this special time of year.
We attend special programs, special parties and gatherings. We pluck strangers names and wishes off trees and make them come true. We feed and clothe others, buy gifts for children in foreign countries we will never see. We open our minds and hearts and, yes, our wallets, and we think of others. We do for others. We are aware of others.
These things are all a part of the spirit of Christmas.
God charged us to love one another. Christ reiterated it, delivering the message to us personally. Throughout the years, many have repeated it using the same and different words, like Mother Teresa, who suggested we do little things with great love.
Over and again we have been told and reminded, and been blessed with the refrain. And especially at Christmas time we hear and listen. Often at Christmas we focus outside ourselves and on the needs and wishes of others. We embrace the spirit of Christmas.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we took a lesson from Dickens’ Scrooge and embraced Christmas every day? Yes, perhaps that is idealistic and in the view of some unrealistic. But is it really?
Is it so difficult to embrace that child-like joy at giving and doing for others? Is it really impossible to keep our hearts and minds open? To think of others as well as ourselves?
For some it may be. But others will consider it a great liberation. A license to be joyful–guilt-free!
So many of us have been conditioned to believe that we must scramble and snatch to get what we want. The fear of less or none drives greed and corruption, and we all know those things are far too prevalent. It often takes a long time to realize that we don’t have to scramble and snatch. It’s a myth that just isn’t true. There’s more than enough. Ours is a God of more than enough who desires us to live life abundantly. And sooner or later we discover another truth: we can’t out-give God.
The Bible says, what you do for the least of me, you do for me. It also says what you do for me will be returned to you in abundance. And–this is tip many miss–what you do to others you’re doing to yourself.
So do yourself good by focusing on others. On what you can do for others.
Jesus did, so in Him, we have the ultimate example. He blazed this trail, walked it, and because He did, now we can follow in His footsteps–if we but choose to do so.
We often hear that the holidays are stressful and hard for many people and the suicide rate soars and depression sets in. With the economic challenges, this year, the prediction is that those stats will break records in the number of people the challenges impact. But I say they don’t have to; we–each one of us–can make another choice.
We can think of someone else. Do something for someone else. Be a blessing to someone else.
We can do that, and embrace the child-like glee that comes from having done it. Rather than depression or focusing on personal lack, we can experience the joy found when making someone else’s life a little better, giving someone else a reprieve, bringing them a smile. Little things. Great love.
We can choose to embrace the spirit of Christmas and emulate Jesus and hear his words to us that love is greatest of all.
And if we do, in our hearts, we will know that it’s true. We’ll also better understand the value of His gift to us, given unconditionally for all time.
©2008, Vicki Hinze