(I would have liked to have published this before Christmas, but since It is still within the season, I will still share these thoughts!)
December is a busy time. Some of us may find that the weeks disappear at an alarming rate, and our blood pressure beginning to spike, as we stare uncomprehendingly at the growing to-do list. Between Christmas parties, baking, decorating, cleaning, hosting, gift-buying, etc; it is no wonder some us have shot nerves!
In a world ( and month!) of Go, go, go – it is easy to forget the simple, yet powerful themes of this season:
Previous years, I had found myself disappointed in the attitude of people; one of greed, self-indulgence, impatience, disrespect; the list goes on! I would always tell myself, I will never become such a person.
But this year something seemed different.
Maybe God was opening my eyes to his active, ever-present love in the lives of others. This season, I was encouraged. I saw consumers chatting cheerfully with cashiers; I saw kindness extended to strangers on more than one occasion, as a customer with a full cart, would let another with just a few items, ahead of them in line. ( Such happened to myself once or twice!) And I heard stories of generosity; people buying strangers coffee, buying strangers their groceries. A stranger paid for my sister’s fuel! ( $58 worth).
As the Christmas song says ( ‘I heard the Bells’):
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep”
It is too easy to look at all that is wrong with the world and ask “Where is God?”
I think God is alive in you and me;
If only we choose to let him be.
Growing up, I was the kid that mumbled and grumbled when my Ma called my brother and I outside to shovel the driveway, before Dad got home from work. Perhaps the root of my frustration, was knowing we had a perfectly functional snow blower parked in the garage, waiting – silently begging – to be used. However, my Ma felt uncomfortable using it, or letting any one of us kids use it, lest we manage to break something.
So instead, we reluctantly dressed in our winter gear; snowpants, jacket, boots, scarves, toques, gloves (sometimes 2 pairs); and trudged to the garage for the best shovel.
For a mid-sized family, we had quite a collection of shovels. Two heavy, metal shovels for chipping the ice; two small, plastic red shovels from when my brother and I were much younger ( My folks’ certainly weren’t against child labour – I intend to do the same!); A sturdy plastic shovel; and then, our personal favorite, the giant, red scoop shovel. So large, two kids could use it for a sled, if they so desired. ( I don’t recall if we ever did…)
So, because there was a favorite, we would take turns, swapping shovels every so often. Most of the time, my Mom was the ice chipper. But occasionally, we’d swap with her too.
I’m sure when evening rolled around, Dad was pleasantly surprised to pull into a cleared driveway. Really, it was the least we could do. That man has the best work ethic I’ve ever seen in my life. He just gets things done. He’ll work a 9, 10, 12 hour day, then come home and fix the vehicle, work on a project, fix something in the house or yard. Often in the winter, when the snow reached knee-deep or higher, he would use the snow blower and make his way across the field, creating for us a path to school. I’m sure lots of kids used this path. Heck, even deer used the path!
That’s how he showed Love; by doing, by serving.
Isn’t that what serving is all about? An act of Love and kindness? You don’t have to know somebody to demonstrate kindness either.
A couple of winters back, sometimes my roommates and I would be pleasantly surprised to come outside and find our driveway already shovelled. (That Christmas, we gave our neighbours a small gift basket, with a note of our appreciation.)
I want to learn to have a servant’s heart. I think it is safe to say, Jesus is the best example of how to do this.
How can we show love to our neighbours this season? To family? Friends? Co-workers, and strangers?