|Painting by: Artist Michael Garland 1996|
I think one of the most exciting and magical traditions of the Christmas season is gift-giving. Beautiful packages wrapped in brightly colored paper with bows and ribbons are placed beneath the Christmas tree, to be shook, squeezed, rattled, and guessed at it's contents. Each gift under the tree offers a blessing, both to the recipient and the giver. The custom of giving gifts began even before the wise men brought gifts to Baby Jesus. The Romans gave gifts that symbolized specific blessings. If one received a gift of sweets, it was a wish for good things for the coming year. A gift of a lamp ensured light and warmth, while small presents of gold and silver symbolized a blessing of wealth and prosperity.
Today I read these verses in Matthew 25:37-40 (KJV)
"Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."These verses challenged me to pause in the midst of my Christmas hustle and bustle... and consider ways that I can reach out to others and make their lives better. There is always something we can do --- whether it's prepare a meal for a family struggling financially, share toys with a child, or spend time with someone who is alone. The size of the gift doesn't matter - it's the love behind the gift that matters. I once again had to stop and ask myself this question, "What has God placed in my hand today... that was meant to be shared with someone else... and not kept for myself...??? My desire is to be used as a "Santa for The Lord," blessing the lives of others ! ! ! Can you imagine how different Christmas would be if each of us found one person to bless... can you imagine how different we would be?
Dear Lord, are there those that You would have me to reach out to this Christmas Season? Show me, I'll be watching... Speak to me, I'll be listening... Guide me, I'll follow. AMEN