Its holiday time and I’ve started my typical after Thanksgiving cyber-shopping for family Christmas gifts. I ponder how blessed I am to not worry about money to buy my family gifts. Years ago, as a single mother, holidays evoked panic, wondering how best to rob Peter to pay Paul to provide a decent holiday for my children. Each year blessings of gifts and a turkey helped meet my needs. The church I attended hosted a ministry for single parents for which I remain grateful and am always mindful of the Lord’s provision.
Trending on Facebook this season, were daily November posts by individuals listing daily blessings they counted. How refreshing to see this in lieu of rants, political grumblings and a laundry list of food recently consumed and accomplishments at the gym most notably found on social media. Despite economic hardships, many Americans examine their life and find blessing to remind them of the affluence we still share in this country.
For some, however, that can’t afford a computer to even access Facebook, holidays, and cold weather bring increased hardship, depression, anxiety. We can’t know this other reality of poverty, drugs, prostitution exists, and do nothing, and pretend we don’t see it. Children in America do go hungry, with inadequate care, and sometimes no roof over their heads.
I think this holiday season we should be challenged not to just give out of our excess. In the past, I have supported single mothers with assistance as well as the handicapped. I feel compelled to take it to the streets. Bring gloves, hats and food to homeless camps, hand out food and toiletries in the low-income communities, and bring bag lunches to the bus station to people taking the buses. Reach out to people where they live—don’t pretend it doesn’t exist. Share words of encouragement, offer to pray with them, listen to their story. We need to dig for the gold in people not the dirt. They know the dirt, but they don’t always see the good. I like to start out with “when I look at you I see . . . “ and fill in the blank with a positive affirmation, something beautiful you see in them. I don’t preach to people – they don’t care about God, they live in survival mode. Their basic needs aren’t being met. They don’t know God as Jehovah Jirah, the God that provides. Be loving, show mercy and meet some need. Don’t preach Jesus – be Jesus in disguise! Jesus is love, not a Pharisee. Meeting people where they live, out on the streets, shows the love of Jesus to people. It shows them something different. It’s important to notice people, and notice someone’s pain, and if you can do something positive, do it. I’m not talking about enabling, just loving people. Jesus is about love, and we need to be about His business of loving people.