The Season of Giving
By DANNY MINTON
Garbage sacks stuffed with colorful Christmas paper now protrude from trash dumpsters that line the quiet street. Boxes ripped open the day before from Christmas morning’s excitement now sit piled, ready to be recycled or hauled to the dumpsite. We pack away a few that are colorful and still in good shape until next season. Gifts that were once a surprise lie stacked on tables waiting for use for the first time. A few family and guests still linger, preparing to pack their bags for the trip back home. Once written listing presents from family members, lists now contain New Year’s resolutions: lose weight, read the Bible, exercise more, take up a new hobby, and more. Soon the colorful decorations will find themselves boxed-up and stored away in the garage or closet, collecting dust until once again dragged out for the season. Life goes on.
Unfortunately, packed away with the decorations and thrown out with the trash, there will be other things people will soon forget. The season instills in people actions of kindness and generosity that seldom appears at different times. Smiles and cheerful greetings have left the lips of most people with whom we came in contact. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, or asking “how are you doing?” become phrases that fade away as the days pass.
Kindness and generosity represent two parts of our lives that should never fade with the season. The season’s whole meaning reminds us of the greatest gift that men, women, and children ever received, crossing all generations. The birth of Jesus was just the beginning, not the end. As this infant born in a stable grew into manhood, he transformed into the real example of how all men and women should be throughout their lives. His actions everyday exemplified kindness and generosity. Whoever he met, his first feelings were love. Everywhere he went, he extended a helping hand. He gave generously, not of money, but with kindness, love, and compassion for others. He did not save it for a couple of months a year or for particular people but expressed it every day to everyone. Everyone he met was special to him.
Yes, life goes on. However, as life goes on, let’s learn to carry that spirit of kindness and generosity into the next year. As we look at people in the stores or school or work or church or walking down the street, learn to see people, not outwardly, but inwardly. May we realize, like us, that the person across from us lives with things in their lives that are troublesome. They hold the same feelings as you and I. Jesus loves them too! Remember, “for God so loved the world.”
Be kind to each person you meet. Be generous, if not monetarily, with compassion and concern for them as God’s children. Christmas is called the “Season of Giving.” To followers of Jesus, the “Season of Giving” continues every day, 365 (or 366 on Leap Year) days of the year. Kindness and generosity should never be wadded up and thrown in the trash. It should never be packed up and put away to collect dust. Kindness and generosity should remain as a light continuously lit in our hearts and shared with those we meet as we live our lives.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law. Gal. 5:22,23
Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ