This Christmas

I’m sitting in the quiet, admiring the Christmas tree and thinking; thinking about Christmas. I’m thinking  about how blessed I am. I have my health and family. I have a home and I am safe here. I have clean water, warmth, food and clothing. I live among abundance. Beyond these things, I have hope, peace and joy.

Christmas tree

As I ponder all of this, it occurs to me that so many of the things I am thankful for, the things I am blessed with, are things that Jesus did without. He wasn’t “safe” from the day he was born. His family fled to Egypt to keep him safe from Herod, people were after him because they did not like his ministry or who he claimed to be. He spent many nights sleeping out of doors or in the homes of friends. The last years of his life, he was homeless. I imagine there were nights he knew hunger, that he was cold and longed for home and family. And I know he chose it; that he could have always been comfortable, safe and well fed. But he still experienced it, for our sake. He chose it, so we would know he understands the struggles of human life, because he loves us and so that we will hopefully choose him.

So what does it mean to choose Jesus? I mean beyond that moment when our desperate need for him is realized and we cry out for salvation. What does it mean to continually choose him? I think I’m still trying to figure that one out; but I have some ideas.

All of this pondering also has me thinking about all of the pain and suffering in our world. The orphan, the widow and the prisoner. The sick, hurting and homeless. It’s overwhelming to think about the multitude that suffers everyday. It is heartbreaking and makes me feel helpless. What can I possibly do that makes a difference in the suffering of the world? The answer is nothing. I can’t even make a small dent in world suffering, but I can make a difference to one who is suffering. World hunger; I’ll never solve it. But I can give food to one hungry person and see to it that for a least one day they go to sleep with full belly. Homelessness; nope, I can’t fix that problem either, but I can help a homeless person, find warmth and shelter. The lonely; there will always be loneliness. But I can give a few minutes of my time to one lonely person, so that they know they are valuable and that someone cares for them. I could go on but you get the idea. I cannot change THE world, but I can change MY world.

So this is how I will choose Jesus in the coming year, I will look for the opportunity to reach out and love people in my daily life. And sometimes I will go the extra mile to seek out those in need around me and come alongside them and offer my help and support. It may not seem like much, but if we all did it, we could change THE world.

Merry Christmas

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