I’ve had thoughts rumbling ’round in my head with the approach of Christmas. Thoughts that disturb me but are present nonetheless, that press in on the brain and ( I hope) are beginning to shape how I see this unique season.
Christmas can be beautiful. At this time people and communities come together to celebrate. Hearts open up and giving freely flows. Almost everyone feels generous at Christmas time!
This goodwill is evidenced by piles of gifts sitting underneath the tree. Tables loaded with food. Rooms filled with family and friends. Food and gift baskets for the poor. Looking out for the interests of others.
It’s beautiful and I love this time of cheer.
But in spite of these wonderful things, other thoughts persistently permeate my mind this season. Sobering, they are, stealing some of my joy and pleasure.
I must confess, amidst my squirming.
CHRISTMAS REVEALS MY SELF-CENTEREDNESS
I’ve been feeling a wee bit sick at heart folks. Lately, I’ve been seeing some of my own greed. No, not for gifts. I can be greedy in my Christmas experience. I don’t want anything to mess it up. I want everything to flow smoothly. The perfect food, the perfect decor, the people who refresh me along with the right kind of fun.
Of course, I’ll give to the poor! I feel better about my indulgences if I do so! Perhaps through Christmas hampers? Maybe drop a basket on the doorstep of a needy family? Perhaps some cheap gifts for the neighbor’s kids?
And then? I can enjoy Christmas to my heart’s content, knowing I’ve done my duty.
WHAT DOES CARING FOR THE POOR LOOK LIKE?
I’ve been asking this question: what does caring for the poor look like? Giving a gift of food/items once a year? Does dropping off a basket= meeting the needs of those around me?
It also begs the question: what do people need most?
Food. Shelter. Clothing. Friendship. Support. Peace. Forgiveness. Freedom.
I squirm (read squirm!) in my soul! At Christmas I’m willing to address the first three, but often fail to move beyond. Why?
Because I want a shiny-clean Christmas? I love my comforts? Perhaps I’m drained from putting so much time and effort into having the “perfect” Christmas?
I begin to realize it’s more than that.
I DON’T WANNA DENY MYSELF
Why do I prefer to help the poor from a distance?
I am far more comfortable delivering a gift to those in need than I am having these people into my home, sharing a Christmas meal and conversation with them. It’s much nicer to celebrate with those I know, those who fulfill my desire for ease, comfort and ready chitchat.
It’s Christmas, and I don’t wanna deny myself any of it’s pleasures. I wanna indulge.
There’s no harm in looking forward to celebrations with friends and family. Certainly not! The season should be spent with those we love! But…
I CONTINUE TO PONDER
…something is wrong with my perspective of Christmas. I feel keenly. All too often, my celebration doesn’t reflect the heart of our God. It reflects me. My desire. My comfort.
I squirm. But I’ll not turn away. I’m gonna think on this and hopefully, arrive at some conclusions that are followed up with actions.