Inspiration:The true meaning of the season
The line of the less fortunate at the feeding center was growing longer and longer. These men and women were trying to get a warm meal, after which most of them were to go back into the cold, in the streets of San Jose. With every plate I served, I could not help but think about the meaning of the season, commonly known to some as the holiday season, to others as Hanukkah, and to most as Christmas. This season comes with mixed feelings for many. It is a season where the have-not go through feelings of depression, anxiety and pain, while those who have, it is a season of gift exchange, giving and receiving. For them it is a season of crowded stores and unpacked stress, a time filled with hurried hellos and curt replies, and a time where many are hurrying from store to store. It is really easy to forget our role in society as a people that know and represent the goodness of God. God requires those that know the meaning of the Christmas season to make a difference in other people’s lives.
Retails stores begin selling and advertising their merchandises as early as mid-October. We are then hit with shopping days labeled “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday”, all of which are meant to drive us to shop for a hidden and yet over commercialized season called Christmas. What is the true meaning of Christmas? Is it the decorated Christmas tree and the presents well tacked under it? Is it about the lights on the windows, the cards in the mail, the dinner turkey and excessive shopping? To many people it is a season of great sorrow as they do not have money to buy presents for their children and family members, while others are saddened because their loved ones are not able to join them for various reasons. To others, Turkey dinners may only be a wish and not a reality. Yet to some it can be a season of great joy, and it can be a time of healing and renewal of strength. Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ; we remember the great joy his birth brought to the world. It is about a king that was born, and gave his life as a sacrifice for you and me. It is therefore a season where we should welcome one another as God has welcomed us, greet one another with words of hope, and embrace our sisters and brothers who are less fortunate as God has enfolded us in his Grace. Remembering that as we launch ourselves in preparation for the secular festival of giving and parties and swirl of social events; we should not forget to prepare our hearts to receive the gift of God to us, Jesus Christ born to set us free from sin.
When we understand the true meaning of this season, we apply the God’s way of giving in our lives: we look for someone to bless. We choose to give to those in need. We live in a culture of increasing isolation, so think and reach out to those people you have not heard from in a while; find a homeless shelter and volunteer to feed; and donate food to these shelters or even better, offer to help a struggling single parent. Maybe they need a gift for their children, buy it for them. We become better human beings when we reach out to meet other people’s needs. We who have the hope of Jesus Christ know that though darkness may seem deep, we do not fear because God is with us. However, there are others who are in deep darkness, stressed by this season, and have no hope. There are others who have no Christmas tree, not because they have chosen not to, but because they cannot afford, and there are others who have no place to stay in this season. May we in this season be an extension of God’s love that has been poured out for each one of us.
The true meaning of the season becomes alive when our hearts respond to the reason for the season. We remember the perfect gift that was given to man kind. We also know that all good and perfect gifts come from him, so today think about the gift of God in your life (Jesus Christ), his favor, and his blessings. Count your blessings and thank him for what you have. Do not focus on what you do not have, focus on what you have; this will change your attitude. Put your love into action. Love has no meaning if it is not shared. The best way to love especially in this season is to love without expecting anything back, just love for love itself. True love towards others involves giving, but pure love is giving to those who cannot give you anything back, and this is the unconditional love, loving with no strings attached to it. We have many in our communities that are hungry not only for food, but hungry to be recognized as human beings, and hungry for human dignity and to be treated as human beings. They are basically hungry for our love. So let’s love others during this Christmas season, remembering that in life, it is not how much you do, but how much you love.
May the Lord Bless you and keep you in his love as you prepare to celebrate this season. May you find joy, and peace in knowing that Christ Jesus is the reason for the season. My prayer for you is that the Lord of all comfort be your constant companion in this season. You might not have much, but you have Christ; may he be the best Christmas gift as you allow him to take control of your life this season.
If you are in the Bay Area, please join us for our end of year monthly breakfast meeting this Saturday. For more information about this meeting and other ministry information visit our website at: www.vesselforhonor.org. You can also reach me by calling +1-408-833-06456, send me an email at “firstname.lastname@example.org”, connect on face book or twitter.
By Evangelist Isabella Mwango