Christmas Day was fun at my home. I was and am thankful we were able to give presents to our children, but also thankful that all the ripped paper and boxes still fit in one garbage bag.
Yet, amid our bounty, I heard a story from my 16-year-old from one of his long-distance friends. His friend didn’t get anything for Christmas, not even a card or a dollar gift. This friend told my son it didn’t bother him. This friend said he wasn’t loved by his family but it was okay. No big deal.
The heartbreak in those words still grieves me. We will do something about this, and it will help but it isn’t what is really needed. That friend (as we all do) needs to know he is loved and accepted by the significant ones in his life.
Getting a gift from someone who loves you is a precious thing.
But when you don’t receive a gift during the season of gift-giving, it illuminates the emptiness in your life.
We all want to be loved.
Life is about relationship, with God and others. Everything else is just an add-on. They can be delightful add-ons, but if we don’t have the basic relationships, they will prove hollow. If you are in a love relationship with God and at least one person (a friend or family member), you are blessed. You have what you need to go forth and help others get these basic needs.
There’s even a name for this ministry we’ve been given: reconciliation.
St. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians, “(God) has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
Some might argue that food, clothing and shelter are as important as relationship, and I don’t disagree, but when we focus on worries of the world we get bogged down and off-center.
Jesus says in Matthew 6, “‘Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.’”
During this last week of 2011, let’s open our eyes to those around us. Let’s notice where they are at within. If they need to be drawn into a love relationship with God, let us help, let us lead them there. If they don’t have interest in this presently, pray for them. Ask them how you can pray.
And we ought to examine our own lives, let go of the stuff that doesn’t really matter and start living for the stuff that does. We only have today. We weren’t physically made to live with a bunch of worry and strife. These things deteriorate our health in all ways. We were created to to be free of these things, to believe for the impossible, to believe God would take care of us (because He will if we let Him).
Don’t waste another year in worry, in strife.
God says to all of us in Psalm 46, “Cease striving and know that I am God.”
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