In the midst of your celebration, would you take a minute to pray for those that don't have much to celebrate this Christmas?
All around our city (and our world), there are people living in tents under bridges. They are huddled up in their sleeping bags trying to stay warm. They wake up to the noise of the cars passing by filled with people headed to visit family and friends.
There are children living with strangers. Because of their circumstances or because of choices made by others, they were removed from their family and put into someone else's home, unable to see their mom or their dad. They might even think their situation is their own fault.
There are women who are used and abused for money. The men they think they love treat them as a commodity, exerting control by shaming and belittling them. They won't see their family for Christmas because of the shame they anticipate facing or because they feel trapped and unable to escape.
For the month of December leading up to Christmas, people are giving and helping these and many more. Shelters have an abundance of volunteers looking to make a difference during the holidays. Massive donations are given to charities to address these concerns (and to close out the books for 2017 with significant tax deductions).
On Christmas day the donations and volunteering slows (and for some, it stops). For those in extreme physical, emotional, and social poverty, everything goes silent on Christmas morning. They are left alone as the rest of us unwrap our presents, warm in our homes with friends and family by the roaring fire while Christmas carols echo through the halls.
I don't write all of this to make us feel guilt, but to remind us of how much we have to be thankful for and to challenge us to leverage our gifts, wealth, and skills to make a difference in our world.
Everything we have in this world is from God and it is all ultimately His. So enjoy what you have and celebrate together with your family. Feel no guilt for enjoying what God has given you. Carry gratitude with you in all that you do this holiday.
And also make time to pray for those with far, far less.
Have a very Merry Christmas!
Thanks for praying!