We hear it all the time: “Jesus is the reason for the season!” But what does it mean in our own lives? One guiding principle that will help us to navigate through the hustle and chaos of the holidays comes from the words of Jesus himself. He told his disciples: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” So with this in mind, let us apply it to our time.
Our focus should be on others, not how many gifts we can get or even the impressions we make on others. Let us ask ourselves how we can “bless” others at this time of year which means far more than making someone happy. A true blessing helps someone to grow into the person God created them to be or fulfills an actual need. It does not feed the insatiable desires of greed.
There are many ways to apply this from the parking lot to the mall. Instead of getting trapped in an endless cycle of consumerism, consider giving a homeless man a cup of coffee or volunteering at a soup-kitchen. There are several ministries in the area that do this. City-Team operates in the South Bay to fill the mouths of the hungry. Valley Church in Cupertino facilitated the collection of gifts on behalf of “Samaritan’s Purse” in “Operation Christmas Child.” These gifts will be sent to children around the world who have never even seen a toy before. Hitting even closer to home, an aunt let her nephew choose a “gift” from World Vision’s catalog. A destitute family in Haiti will have a goat as a result of this. This goat will provide sustenance and income for their entire family!
The early church started celebrating Christ’s birth on the same day as the pagan celebration of winter solstice. Instead of succumbing to the culture around them they celebrated an alternative: the birth of Christ. This was God’s greatest gift and we should never forget: “He is the reason for the season.”