At the entrance to Wal-Mart and other stores this time of year, you’ll hear the familiar Salvation Army bell ringing on behalf of the voiceless…for those in need. Perhaps you’ll be inclined to give an extra gift or two….maybe even bake something for a neighbor or donate items to a charity.
This heart of giving to others is what Christmas foretells. Christ coming to earth to give the gift of salvation and redemption to each of us…..to bridge the gap between God and man that our disobedience created. Especially at Christmas, I am reminded of those who have less and those who live in despair and darkness. Many of them yearn for the light of Christ, for hope and a hand of care….yet there is no one nearby to tell them, to encourage them or to point the way.
So, as we enter 2013, I encourage all people of faith to re-commit to our common duty to “preach to all nations” the good news of Christ. In a humble spirit of kindness, grace and love, we are to reach out to all those around us….rich and poor….organized and disorganized…..pleasant and hateful….dirty and clean…..and share the light we have inside and to give with no strings attached.
May the joy of Christ be with you as you seek to obey God and serve the least of these among us at not only this joyous time of year but throughout the year as well.
Awakened souls amidst the grief
oh humankind’s own hand;
Where sorrow creeps so steadily
And hope but all disbands.
Tis a light to enter in
This hope that some still bring
This hope is lodged in Jesus Christ
His light, to all…to sing.
And when we sit in darkened stench
When all around us frays
Tis only light from His great throne
That brings us hope, amidst the gray.
But oh the joy that comes beside
when all else seems but lost.
All hope and grace and joy can be
When Christ’s own heart exhausts
for us He gives deep life ‘er known
True life He gives to me.
And when you turn each time to Him
Your heart will know true peace.
So seek the Lord the God above
Seek Him rich and poor
Salvation comes at this great hour
through His wide open door.
And to the souls whose hearts are free
to those with more than less
I plead that in your heart today
You’ll give to all the rest.
Give to those who struggle here
In darkness and despair
Give to those who yearn for life
Who’s hearts now burn for His great care.
And give to those that sow the seeds of hatred and despair,
Give to those you cannot stand,
Give to those that strike you down,
For they the Lord he too does care.
But do not spoil this moment now
Go right away, don’t haste;
Go and give yourself away
For in that time you’ll know for sure
It’s to the poor that God embraced.
Matthew 25:34-40 (NIV)
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.