Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Be Blessed as You Bless

Some people aren't so cheerful this season. And...I'm not just talking about those that choose to carry a Bah Humbug personality in general. I'm talking about people in which circumstances have caused Christmas to possibly be less than joyful. Believe me, I know from personal experience that the holidays can actually be very circumstantially depressing. For some, this may be the first season without a loved one - by death or by divorce or even through some other manner. For others, this may be a first Christmas season with a terminal illness or the last holiday to share with loved ones unless a miracle occurs. Others are saddened with the truth of not having an income with which to bless others with gifts. Whatever the circumstances, whatever the cause, and regardless of the reasons - for some, this Christmas is painful.

For our family, we're experiencing the first Christmas with my mother in a nursing home. This has been a difficult adjustment not only for us but also for my mother. She's afflicted with Parkinson's Disease, and it has unfortunately debilitated her to the point that she needs assistance with the most basic of day-to-day needs. Sadly, however, her physical state and her mental state are in two different places. She's only in her early sixties but has the body of one in his/her late eighties/early nineties. While visiting with her a couple times this week, I observed how many individuals and churches stop and do things for nursing home residents. She's received poinsetties, gifts, baskets of goodies, cards, etc. It brings me joy to see others bringing her joy.

Several years ago, I was a single mom. Christmas was especially difficult. Decorating the tree only brought back memories of the ornaments I no longer had. Shopping was extremely stressful, because I always worried how far I could stretch a dollar and still give my daughter a decent Christmas. Some years, I had to simply leave home to be able to spend Christmas with friends to keep my mind off the reality of my situation. However, there was always someone that stood in the gap for me in those years. Maybe they prayed on my behalf or provided food to help with our Christmas dinner. I anonymously received gift cards several times that helped with my Christmas shopping. All in all, as difficult as the holiday was at times, it was the help of friends and even strangers that made it so much more bearable and even joyful.

I encourage you to seek out someone to bless this Christmas. Do you know a single parent family that you could invite over for Christmas dinner? How about someone recently widowed that you could take to church with you? Is there someone that you could provide reprieve for that has been sitting with a family member in the hospital that could benefit from a few hours away for rest? Will you be the hands and feet of Jesus as we celebrate His birth? Watch how much you will be blessed as you bless others.

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