Friday, December 11, 2015
You Are My Christmas Present
In recent days I was reminded how very important each one of us are, VERY important. I think we take many things for granted, because that’s the way they always have been, and we can’t conceive of things being different. And so we’re not thankful.
The Bible Study guys this morning were in John, Chapter 6, and the Miracle of the Loaves, the feeding of 4000 by the meager bread holdings of a small boy. We noticed that Jesus took the loaves and used them to feed all the people, but we noticed a couple of other things also: it’s not recorded that Jesus ever said “Thank you” to the boy, nor did the people ever say thank you to Jesus for feeding them. The discussion continued, centering around all the things we are not thankful for, all the blessings we have, and how at those times when we imitate the generosity of Jesus and freely give, we often judge those we are giving to. One of the men mentioned how he bought a 7-year old child a bike --- “but I didn’t attach a gift receipt because I worried the child’s mom might return the bike to get money for drugs. I made an assumption about this person who I didn’t even know!” We all had examples like that.
We talked about Jesus’ example of just giving to those in need, and not expecting thanks, and trusting that there is an unsaid thanks from our Father. I wrote recently about the need for us to be content with doing our part in God’s plan, kind of like the boy who had the loaves. He didn’t work the miracle which enabled the feeding of 4,000, but he certainly contributed. Maybe Jesus isn’t recorded as thanking the boy because the boy was a follower of his, and Jesus expects those types of loving things from His followers. Remember that part of the Gospel where Jesus says that if you only do something to get thanks, then that is your reward here in this life --- don’t expect any from Him in eternity.
Last night, at the Caregiver’s Support Group meeting, we spoke about how our Thanksgiving went, and Christmas plans. For many there, the days were and are expected to be difficult ones. Mom or dad or their spouse takes all of their time and focus. A couple commented that Christmas shopping wasn’t a priority, getting through Christmas was. And you could see they felt alone, and more than one noted how their siblings don’t understand all the work --- and stress --- which is involved in taking care of mom or dad. And they shed tears, and we understood, having gone through or presently going through just what they are, and feeling what they feel. But then one of the women said: “You are my Christmas present,” referring to the group of people present, and how much they felt blessed to find other people that understand, that are there, and that care.
We talk about Christmas and giving, and we think about those we help and perhaps we also think about our blessings, but often these thoughts focus on monetary things --- the expensive bike bought for a poor kid, or even the feeding of 4000 hungry people. But I think the woman last night expressed thanks for something we don’t often consider when thinking of gifts or blessings received: one of the greatest gifts we can give another person --- or even receive ourselves --- is a hug. For very many people, even perhaps your very next door neighbors, being alone is their real poverty. Don’t forget them this Christmas. You can be a Christmas present to someone in need --- in need of you.
I mentioned my friend, Mary Beth, volunteers for an organization called No One Dies Alone. You can see more about their nationwide initiative here: http://www.eskenazihealth.edu/our-services/palliative-care-program/NODA