Give To The Least Of Them, At Least At Christmas

December 23, 2013

Friends,
My brother was telling me the other day how he and some others from their church went knocking on apartment doors asking people what they want for Christmas. He said that most people wouldn’t really say, but a few did. And the ones that did were in for a very pleasant surprise. For what my brother and his friends were up to was this: My brother and a couple of others would knock on doors, give a small gift, invite the residents to their church, ask them what they want for Christmas, and then write down each one’s answer. As soon as they had said goodbye, my brother would call another church member who was waiting at Walmart, that person would buy the item, and another church member waiting in the Walmart parking lot with a van would pick it up and deliver it to my brother still at the apartments. So, about an hour after the request, my brother and his friends with him would deliver it to the resident who had told them what they were wishing for this Christmas.

One lady they visited had said she was longing for a vacuum cleaner. Pointing out her dirty carpet, as well as her mouth full of missing teeth, she had said she just couldn’t afford a vacuum cleaner but was sure wishing for one for Christmas. When my brother and the others delivered to her an hour later a brand new vacuum cleaner with a huge Christmas bow on it, saying, “Here’s what you wished for”, the woman burst into tears and screams of joy. She kept screaming with joy and crying so that even when my brother and his little group left and were way out in the parking lot getting ready to leave, they could still hear the woman screaming and shouting for joy. My brother was laughing as he told me, “The woman was so hysterical that we were afraid people were going to think we’d murdered her husband or something!” I couldn’t help laughing too. And I thought what they’d done sounded so fun! For isn’t it great to bless people, especially when they aren’t expecting it?

I hope we all can find someone needy to bless this holiday season. I already found such a family this last Saturday who I knew really needed some money and encouragement, so in giving to them, I was blessed as well. And I hope to find at least one more family to give to.

What would Jesus do? What did Jesus already do? And what has He done for us day after day? He has given us abundant blessings of all kinds that we so often take for granted. Like a towel rack in our bathroom. Or salt for seasoning food. Or a safety pin. Or a warm jacket. Or a spouse who loves and cares for us. Even when many things aren’t right, or society’s selfishness sometimes makes us want to get far away from everyone, or one problem after another pops up, we nevertheless have multitudes of blessings. We just need to notice them. Or if we can’t, then going without them for a week should open our eyes. When my husband and I went out after four days of being without some “necessities” in our new home –like a bathroom towel rack– and he installed them, I couldn’t believe how thankful I was to just have a towel rack available!

But some people have NEVER had a towel rack. They’ve never even had a towel. To dry off, they have to resort to using, at best, an old piece of cloth. My dad was telling me last month how the Agta, after he would periodically ask them what their upcoming meal would be consisting of, would usually say, “Rice and salt.” They felt it a luxury just to have salt with their rice. This is how most of the world lives, even while others gorge themselves on all sorts of luxuries –year after year, day after day, hour after hour.

If only people would let the change begin with their own family. If only they would agree that this Christmas, instead of piling gifts up under their own tree, the money would be spent to bring gifts to those who need necessities. For as Paul reminds us of Jesus’ words, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35), we are also reminded to work hard to help the weak. (same verse) Not the lazy, or those who take advantage of kindnesses, but those who are truly in need.

Let’s remember that whatever we do for (and to) the least of them –the most impoverished, neglected, diseased, or insignificant of people– we have done it for (and to) Christ. (Mt. 25:35-40) –Whether it is love and help we’ve extended, or neglect. (v. 41-46)

This Christmas let’s take these things to heart, and act accordingly.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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