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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Reinvented

As Christmas draws near, I've been doing a lot of thinking about how I would do Christmas differently this year. Each year, for the past couple of years, I've been convicted about how I go about celebrating Christmas. When I was 17, we finally decided to quit giving out big gifts in my family. Instead, we'd each get a small present. That was very very tough for me, since I had been used to getting many presents that my focus was on the presents as opposed to Christ. Ever since my parents readjusted our focus on Christmas, I've been able to give up certain things little by little each Christmas. Gifts are no longer important to me. What is more important now is, "How do I celebrate the right way?" As I pondered what I would do differently this year, the Lord gave me a vision about Christmas reinvented. He reminded me of the verse about Gehazi which says,

"Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants?
(2Ki 5:26 KJV)

Although the verse refers to a whole different scenario, I realized the Lord was speaking to me and telling me that Christmas was not about me, rather it was about others. Christmas is a time to serve others and show them the love of Christ because Christ has given Himself up as a sacrifice for us. His whole life was about serving others, not Himself. Scripture after Scripture describes how He cared for the people. He was weary and tired, but even then, when He was needed, He pressed on to help others. He didn't complain or shoo them away, He willing emptied Himself for others. If Christ could show such love to others in need, isn't that an example to us during the Christmas season of what our focus should be on? I suddenly realized that this Christmas should and would be different. It would be learning how I could help others more so this season. It would be about volunteering my time to help those who need help. Yet even then, the Lord showed me my focus was still wrong! As I phoned and e-mailed places in need of Holiday volunteers, I was baffled that none of them needed help or they never responded or their e-mail didn't even work! I felt as if I had been hindered on purpose. I couldn't understand why, until I began to realize that God wanted me to minister to those around me this year. He wanted my ministry to be using the skills I had learned to benefit others. Simple things like baking cookies or playing the piano for the enjoyment of others was on His agenda for me, not being officially recognized with an organization to be able to show off to others about the wonderful things I had done for others during Christmas. No, He wanted my service to be quiet and unnoticed. So during this season, I have devoted myself to finding ways to help others in need. And although it may be a small task that I am given to help someone, I am very happy this season to know God has helped me to celebrate this season in a way that He would want me to. I would encourage everyone to use their skills to benefit others in need this season. I was even surprised to realize that I could help others, not monetarily or giving of my time, but by using my talents to create things that would bless others. Take a look around you and see how you can bless others in the way our dear Lord has blessed us!