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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Gifts of the season

One of the things I think most interesting about the Christmas season is how we tend to be encouraged to be more generous, and how, for most of us, we do tend to give more. I started to really think about it the other night when my daughter and I stopped for drinks at a coffee place we like to frequent. The barista was a guy who always seems to be working when we're there, and so I thought, you know, he's been really good to me whenever I come, so I should give him an extra tip, a little thank you at the holiday time. So I did. I gave him a tip that was ridiculously high for what I ordered.

I realized that I tend to do that at the holidays-I end up giving people more money, bigger tips, better gifts, more blessings, than I would at other times of the year. And even though it's a good thing that I choose to bless people at this time of year, why don't we do it the rest of the year? Why, when we go to restaurants or the coffee shop, we'll give a tip that consists of the change left over from our orders, or whatever percentage seems appropriate to what we'd ordered? But over the holidays, we'll add an extra dollar or two, or whatever else we happen to have that we think will bless others. Why don't we do that every time we go out?

Why, during the rest of the year, are we so caught up in our lives that we don't remember to do those things? Each year, at Thanksgiving, I get a thing from our local rescue mission saying that it costs $1.84 to feed one person Thanksgiving dinner. And then I get another one at Christmas. Why don't we get those every month? Are people only hungry at Thanksgiving and Christmas?

I know I've talked about this before, but I wonder, what sort of difference would we make in this world if each of us who was able would help out someone who needed it. There are fewer hungry people in this country than there are who are not. One dollar and eighty four cents. That's all it would take to feed another human being in our country. I suspect, if we chose to feed someone not in our country, it would take even less.

What does it take to have more compassion on others? Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for the fact that people are charitable, even if it takes a commercial holiday to make us give to others. But is it really a credit to us, a credit to the man whose birth we're supposed to be celebrating, if we're only charitable at a time when it's more noticeable? Even the Pharisees would do that. Even those who do not know Christ would do that.

My hope, in the coming year, that we would not only give the obligatory gifts, but ones that would make a difference at times when others may have forgotten. Gifts that are "just because". Maybe even a few gifts that aren't so easy to give. That take more than just handing someone our spare change.


Tori Lennox said...

An excellent post!

Danica/Dream said...