On Wednesday many across this world will be celebrating Christmas. Over the years there has been great debate about whether or not a person should gather with their family and celebrate this holiday. Some Christians feel that the celebration of such a day is always wrong. Others feel the celebration of such a day is only wrong when done for religious purposes and others feel that the celebration of such a day should be done with religious intent. And still some believe it is wrong because it has become a materialist smorgasbord for our country.
I donít want to write unto you about that season. I want to write unto you about my favorite part of this time of the year. It seems that this time more than any other time of the year people think of others. All sorts of drives can be found all over town, Toys of Tots, Salvation Army, etc. But this is not really what I am talking about. It is the individual efforts people make to be kind unto others that make me smile this time of the year. Permit me to provide unto you a few illustrations. Recently I found out that someone in our family was struggling financially. This person lost his job at no fault of his own. He worked as a security guard at a medical marijuana clinic in California. The federal government shut them down. He has since found a job, but he could not find one that could provide for his family the way that security job could. After making a few phone calls to some local saints (this family member is not a Christian), one particular family of Christians took it upon themselves to help them out. They brought groceries, and later this week she will be bringing this family a dinner for Christmas. (She is a rather good cook from what I hear). This is not something that she had to do. But it is something she felt compelled to do for a family that that is struggling. I should probably add that this same Christian family is helping this family out be helping them find better jobs.
As a preacher I have always been away from home. And as a preacher, I know that families in local churches tend to travel a lot during the holiday season. This makes it nearly impossible for the preacher to travel to be around family for any holiday. But I have seen the generosity of Godís people in so many ways to make this difficulty manageable. I recall one year when Christmas fell on a Thursday. Dawn and I intended on leaving for her folks place early Thursday morning so that we could be with her family for Christmas. As we got out a blizzard hit the Ozark mountains just as we arrived. It made the roads impassible. We were forced to turn around and go home. To our dismay, we had eaten all the food in the house because we were going to be gone for several days and didnít want anything to spoil in the kitchen. On Christmas day in that little town nothing was open, not even Wal-Mart. So their we were no family, no food, and sitting in a cold house. We called up a fellow Christian and explained to him our situation. (We had two kids that had to have something to eat other than Christmas candy). His family invited us over to their home for Christmas. What started off us the worst Christmas I could remember having turned out to be one of the most memorable.
And one final story of kindness. 4 years ago I was preparing to move from Virginia to Iowa. If you recall we arrived here the 1st weekend in December. This meant that Dawn and I packed the house up for moving Thanksgiving weekend. When a fellow saint found out that we were not eating a Thanksgiving dinner that year he invited us to his home (later that weekend he demanded that we spend our last two nights in Virginia in his home).
It is truly amazing how this time of the year tends to bring out the best in Godís people. And I tell you it is absolutely necessary. Not everyone has reason to be happy this holiday season. Many struggle because loved ones have passed away. Many struggle because loved ones are currently sick. Last year alone I buried my aunt just before Christmas, a good family friend just after Christmas, and a cousin who seemed to always be in my home when I was a child just after the new year (not to mention my kidís guinea pig). Times like that it made it hard to be joyous. Many struggle because the holidays bring back memories they would rather forget. The drunken father he always seemed to ruin Christmas or the fact that mom and dad were no longer together. Or those like the family I mentioned earlier who financially is finding it hard to stay afloat. For their sake we need to be kind. We need to reach out and help. We need to be the good Samaritan. But let me add this, we shouldnít wait until the holiday season to help those in need. Like the good Samaritan he helped when the need arose, not just when the need arose on special occasions.
I guess what I really am trying to say, is that it is always the season to do good unto one another.
Grinnell church of Christ
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Tis the Season
Volume 4 Issue 52