A time to demonstrate love for others

By Minister Gail Thompson

What motivates you to give? Do you most appreciate receiving? The true spirit of Christmas is "not getting, but giving". It is the perfect time to celebrate the love of God and family; forgetting self and finding time for others. The practice of giving is not a recent innovation, it began when the ultimate sacrifice was made and God gave his only begotten son. The Bible records the visit of the three wise men to Bethlehem. Relinquishing the comfort of home to seek the newborn King, to give gifts worthy of royalty; of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Today, we can't literally give these gifts to Jesus, but we can give to people and causes that are close to our heart.

It is sometimes said the birth of Christ has become commercialised and secularised and the real meaning of this season has been lost. Everywhere we go during this season, the signs of Christmas are there with all the glitter, tinsel, lights, carols and cards. We may become numbed to the realities outside our Western world of abundance and excess. But we can still use this season as a time to demonstrate love for others in a special way. There are all sorts of ways you can enjoy a fun Christmas by supporting causes. It can really help put new meaning to the giving of gifts.

The holiday season is ultimately a time when we have the opportunity to make an incredible impact towards the lives of the less fortunate, near and far. Letters, cards and gifts can make a far greater difference than you or I could ever imagine. Christmas is "Advent with compassion". A time to show children, how special they are to you and your family. Above all, we are spreading God's love, by investing in the welfare and future of children from every nation, tribe and tongue.

There are numerous things you can do to disperse the gift of love to those both close to home and in faraway places. Take time to show others you care with a kind word or gesture, offering encouragement or prayer. Spread the gift of love by sparing time to help others with the practical demands of everyday life. Try volunteering at a local charity or community initiative, invite an elderly person or lonely next-door neighbour to Christmas dinner. Take the time to write to your sponsored child and share Christmas love. Providing emotional or instrumental support has such great benefits that are associated with longevity: a gift that keeps on giving.

The festive season is also a perfect opportunity for Christians to show the love of God and meaning of their faith: an opportunity to explain the historical roots behind the tradition.
Don’t forget though, as you make your plans for the Christmas season, to factor in how you can share some love and kindness, and be a blessing to your neighbour and wider community.

May the Christmas season fill your home with joy, your heart with love and your life with laughter. God bless you all.

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