The doorbell rings. People inside glance at each other momentarily, prying each other’s facial expressions to determine if the visitor is expected or not. One leaps up only to find a shipping company driver has left a package at your door. There is a marginal level of relief knowing that no one will see how the house may look at that exact point in time. But then the expectations and anticipation rise as the package is picked up and the shipping label read.
Guessing starts as they try to figure out if it’s an item they ordered for ourselves, a gift ordered by someone else and drop shipped to them, or it’s a gift simply shipped from a person who cares. We quickly discern the source and proceed to open it. The process tracks quickly, and we decide if we want it, or if it will be re-gifted right away. But sometimes, a gift is so special, so unique, and so thoughtful, that we end up sharing it. I don’t mean a 50-pound tin of popcorn, or a crate of eggs. It could be a gift card to one precious eating place that holds those cherished memories. It could be a picture album or memory stick of videos that requires quiet and tearful reminiscing.
But sometimes, we get gifts that are purposefully for giving away. Love, compassion, a warm hug when a loved one has passed on, a helping hand when we feel we are hanging onto the last knot on the rope….
How can you describe the facial expression on a person who can’t possibly return a favor that you helped them with? How can you describe the emotions when you turn around in a grocery check-out aisle, and see the gratitude on a face after telling the cashier that you will be picking up the tab for the person behind you today? How can a person measure the impact of sacrifice when we spend precious hours at the bedside of a friend? Even when we tell a person to pass an act of kindness or blessing on to others, the actual experience will be shared over and over. The Lord builds His influence into all these exchanges we have during our lifetimes!
So, this year, let us plan for sharing some gifts that don’t just fulfill an obligation on “a list”. Touch a person’s life that will change theirs. Reach out and share of your resources that will alter the path of a tragedy-filled life. Watch as Jesus, Himself embodies the thoughtful and powerful presence in a person’s life who has given up, thrown in the towel, and sees no more use to live on. Sometimes, we never know the desperation someone is imprisoned in. Want to see them smile? Do that act of kindness. Write that note of encouragement. Visit that shut-in who used to have so many friends! Bring a meal to that person who has such difficulty with arthritis. Help prepare Christmas cards for someone who has no money for the postage, and get them in the mail yourself. Do an oil change for a widow. Shovel a sidewalk or driveway. Hang a wreath. Share rare chocolates. Bring a favorite flower. Go to that rehab center and have a long chat with someone who needs someone to talk with.
“Lord, thank You for building into us a love for others. Whether they be believers or not. Help us not to see what we see, but what YOU see. Reveal to us the importance of TIME and EFFORT as we invest in others. Lord, You were the perfect example. What did You even give away? You had nothing except the clothes You wore. Yet, You fed 5,000 from a single lunch. You restored life to those who had already gone on. You pointed out the smallest monetary offering given with the highest level of sacrifice. You took folks with no hope, suffering from sometimes life-long infirmities, and blessed them with a cure! Allow us to see the incredible importance of acts like those. Let us give Your gift that keeps on giving! We pray in Jesus’ Name, Amen.”