Christmas is the most significant time of year because we are celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. But it’s not always a merry and bright holiday for everyone. In fact, I can remember a time when it wasn’t for me.
It was my first Christmas alone, and from the time I woke up that morning, I couldn’t shake the sadness and emptiness I felt. Finally, after moping around the house a bit, I found my way to my knees and brought my grief to the Lord. As I was pouring out my heart to Him, I sensed in my spirit that God was asking me, “Where am I in all of this?” His gentle words redirected my attention away from the pity party I was having for myself.
I asked for God’s forgiveness and set about changing the course of my morning. Getting up from my bed, I picked up the phone and dialed one of my friends. “Hello,” I said, “this is your pastor. I just wanted to say merry Christmas, happy new year, and I hope you have a wonderful, wonderful day.”
Well, friend, that felt so good that I called another person and another until I had filled my whole morning with joy. And this spontaneous act has turned into a treasured tradition, giving me more delight each Christmas than I hope to give away.
At some point, loneliness affects us all, and the holidays don’t grant us immunity. But sometimes the cure for loneliness is counterintuitive: giving away the very attention, comfort, and encouragement we wish someone else were lavishing upon us. It’s just one of the practical ways we can live out Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:12, “Treat people the same way you want them to treat you.”
This Christmas, remember that regardless of what you have or don’t have, you can bless others because in Christ we ourselves have been richly blessed with love, peace, and comfort. And unlike material gifts, giving these away only multiplies them in your own life. So don’t be afraid to be generous! God will meet you in the pouring out, just as He did me that Christmas morning so long ago.
I pray you encounter His abundant blessings this holiday season.
Charles F. Stanley