"Lord Christ, You have no body on earth but ours, No hands but ours, No feet but ours. Ours are the eyes through which your compassion must look out on the world. Ours are the feet by which you may still go about doing good. Ours are the hands with which You bless people now. Bless our minds and bodies. That we may be a blessing to others." St. Theresa of Avila
Today on Christmas, someone will wake up hungry, cold and hopeless. A widow will mourn the loss of her spouse, a parent the loss of a child, an orphan will wake up without family. It will be especially lonely today of all days. Somewhere in both the United States and in far away places like Africa, Ukraine, India, S. America and all over the world a child will wake up without anything under the tree and nothing in the house to eat. An international student spends another holiday alone in their dorm as all their classmates are home for Christmas. A refugee family wishes someone would talk to them. An elderly woman sits forgotten in a nursing home, a parents heart is rent in two not being able to provide for their child, a foster youth feels completely and utterly alone. A family is sleeping in their car, A child just died from lack of clean water, hunger or a preventable diseases. In the busyness of family celebrations, church services and holiday activities please stop for one moment and ask the Lord a question. "Who would you have me to love today?" "Whose life would you like to touch in a tangible way through me?" "How can I be your hands and feet in this moment?" I know Lord that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26) so how can I use the resources, talents and time today in this moment to bless those who are broken and hurting?"
While celebrating with your family consider those without family. This could be the orphan who may have never known even a stitch kindness, love and a mothers touch. It could be a foster youth that has aged out of the system and like I often did, will spend Christmas and New Years alone feeling unloved, unwanted and purposeless. Invite them over. Thank you Brenda and Virgie for always having us over for the holidays. Thank you for being Jesus with skin on.
Google adoption photo listings and you'll see something truly heartbreaking. Foster youth that are 19, 20 and 21 years old still longing for a family, a place to belong on the holidays. Have you seen this?
I read about a 21 year old medical student that earned numerous awards for academic excellence. He was interning at a hospital, earned many scholarships, lived on his own but still strongly desired a family, enough to put himself on a national photolisting along with 132,000 other adoptable US foster youth. I used to pray someone would adopt him. He Isn't there anymore. I wonder, did he finally find a family or just get too old to be listed? Can you visit the senior citizen in the convalescent home that hasn't seen a visitor for quiet some time.
Have you ever encouraged a prisoner who is persecuted for his or her faith. Send a letter to officials on their behalf, Mail them a christmas card, a scripture, a note. Heb 13:3 Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them,
It could be that you invite international student to your home for dinners, activities etc like International Student INC. They come to America to learn about our culture but rarely leave their dorms to learn what life is like, unfortunately during the holiday many students go home leaving these students lonely and isolated. Meet new people from different cultures. What about the family/friend/coworker that moved here and has no family in which to share the usual traditions. Are they lonely away from their parents and siblings? Know any latchkey kids? What about the military family who moves from place to place. Or the military wife whose spouse is deployed?
As you are shopping and opening gifts think of the single mother who could barely put a roof over her child's head let alone purchase a gift or two for her child. Single fathers have it even worse. Sponsor a child, drop off a toy for an Angel Tree kid ( whose parent/s are in prison) Help foster child. Get a few friends a visit a group home. Go tell a kid to have hope, things will be better, that they have a purpose and were destined to do great things! That they have a FATHER who loves them and is the perfect parent when their earthly parents fall short. Tell them that "though their father and mother forsake them the Lord will take them up. " http://bible.cc/psalms/27-10.htm I'll never forget the postal workers who came by and dropped off gifts for us kids at the group home when I was a teen. I'll never forget the christmas as a 4 year child when my mother was arrested. The officers asked what I received for Christmas. One in particular appeared especially upset and disturbed when he found out I didn't receive anything at all. He went out and later presented me with a cabbage patch doll. I was terrified clinging to my mother who was at the time handcuffed. I don't know if he used his own money but it was a very compassionate gesture. No kindness is ever wasted.
You can give a micro loan through Opportunity, Hope International, World Vision, Five Talents. give medicine, animals, farming tools, school tuition a school uniform to a person who may not otherwise get help. Friends of mine recently got together and bought a gifts for a homeless child that I adore. Some even included gas and gift cards with words of encouragement for the mother. One mentioned that it was no big deal to her. They have passes at Disneyland and often spend that much on snacks and fast food alone. Can you forgo some small convenience to bless someones life, help an orphan find a home, alleviate a burden, meet a need? Touch a heart.
When decluttering to make way for your new items coming in your home consider the refugee who comes here with nothing. Even used items you may throw away would be a blessing to them. Many of us hoard all our many items when there are people in our own neighborhoods with nothing sleeping on the floor and without sheets silerware etc yes, here in the good ole USA. One friend provided childcare to help a refugee who was expected to find work but couldn't afford a sitter. Often they don't speak English and don't know how to even begin making a life for themselves. Many mothers feel isolated due to the language/culture barrier. They've experienced terrible persecution and personal tragedy. Love, a smile transcends language barriers.
Take a meal, mail a card, buy a toy, invite someone over. Buy a bible ( Bible League) for those who can't afford one in their language. Mail a package to a missionary, donate to a fundraising adoptive family. Pay a bill for someone in need. Offer your trade (car repair, plumbing, accounting, etc) Call a friend who might encouragement, bless a family going through a hard time. Go say "Hi" to new neighbors. Mother Teresa once said "I want you to be concerned about your next door neighbor. Do you know your next door neighbor?"
There is so much that can be done to give hope and encouragement in the coming days and year. We can do so many little acts of compassion that will spread ripples reaching into eternity. Thanks be to Jesus, for giving the perfect gift, Himself. May we give of ourselves, "Spend ourselves ( Isaiah 58:10 ) on behalf of those in need. May we be known by our love, the irresistible, compassionate, radical, self denying love of Christ that compels us to advocate for the greater good of others. That is the gospel. That is the Jesus, the Word made flesh. Merry Christmas! Peace and Joy in Jesus Alida & Rodriguez family.
"Let us remember that the Christmas heart is a giving heart, a wide open heart that thinks of others first. The birth of the
baby Jesus stands as the most significant event in all history, because it has meant the pouring into a sick world of the
healing medicine of love which has transformed all manner of hearts for almost two thousand years... Underneath all the
bulging bundles is this beating Christmas heart." -- George Matthew Adams
"Rejoice, that the immortal God is born, so that mortal man may live in eternity." [John Huss]
"When we ask our children 'What do you want for Christmas?', we are asking a question that breeds selfishness. In order to develop selflessness we should be asking 'What are you going to give?' Christmas is the celebration of God's great gift giving -
'For God so loved the world that he gave...'(John 3:16)" [Robert Flatt]
"It is the Christian belief that much of what is wrong with the world today is moral and spiritual. In other words, the spirit of Christmas is absent." [Handel H. Brown]
"Best of all, Christmas means a spirit of love, a time when the love of God and the love of our fellow men should prevail over all hatred and bitterness, a time when our thoughts and deeds and the spirit of our lives manifest the presence of God. "
[George F. McDougall]
There is always time enough in a day to do God's will. -- Walt Witman
Blessed is The season which Engages the whole world in a Conspiracy of love.-Hamilton Wright Mabie.
Pray for Foster youth-
Adoption.com , AdoptUsKids & Heart Galleries of America
International Students, Inc
Refugees- World Relief.org