Sharing the gifts of Christmas
The Advent season reminds us to live by the virtue of patience. In 21st century Indiana, we are
eagerly awaiting the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, as well as sharing in fellowship with family and friends. Some of you may be finished with your Christmas shopping, but I'm guessing a large number of you - like me - are still trying to satisfy the wish lists of various family members, still need to design and send out Christmas cards, and still have plenty of wrapping to do.
As Christians, we anticipate the birth of our Savior, but also await his return. We don't know what God's timeline is, but our faith is placed in the outstretched hands of our Lord. Amidst the excitement of the holiday season, our ability to be patient is challenged in many ways. Nevertheless, the manner in which we demonstrate patience and celebrate Christ's birth and return can be expressed in the way we rejoice and show gratitude for our abundant blessings.
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." I Thessalonians 5:16-18
Each of us is blessed by God with different gifts to share with others as a "thank you to God." A couple of weeks ago, my wife Kathy suggested to me that we donate some money from our entire family to a special cause this Christmas. We decided to give to a cause that will promote righteousness or justice and perhaps provide peace in a person's life. Kathy watches a nightly news program hosted by longtime broadcaster Lawrence O'Donnell who has accepted a calling to assist young girls in Africa with the opportunity to get an education through a special fund called K.I.N.D. which stands for Kids In Need of Desks. While the purpose of the fund focuses on buying desks for African girls so that they don't have to sit on dirt floors in a classroom, there is something even bigger at stake. For under $200, a girl's education in Africa is covered for one full year, including room and board.
Our family will be blessed with gifts this Christmas, but instead of buying small, stocking-stuffer type gifts for each family member, Kathy and I informed our family that we were donating money to fund a girl's high school education in Africa for one year, thus allowing a girl the opportunity to escape poverty by possibly going to college, earning a viable living, and making a positive impact on improving the quality of life in her country.
As we approach the third Sunday of Advent, let us be reminded of the words of the Apostle Paul: "May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this." - I Thessalonians 5:23-24.
Merry Christmas to you and your families!
Bill Rogers McCormick Theological Seminary student