While the Christmas holidays are a time of joy and excitement for some, it’s also the most painful and lonely time of year for others. Missing a loved one, stressing about the lack of enough money for gifts, not getting the gifts we expect, being estranged from someone we love…so many factors have the potential to bring us down. These struggles are amplified just after Christmas, when Christmas expectations go unmet and the foreboding empty days of winter lie ahead. Many people really suffer.
This time of year is when encouraging others can an impact more powerful than you could ever imagine. The Greek translation of the word encouragement is “parakletos”, which means “called alongside to help.” Encouragement can be offering an uplifting word, but it can also be so much more than that, such as an opportunity to come alongside and help.
Showing someone they have value and dignity, and offering respect as you take action…doing something for them…this has an amazing influence on others’ thoughts and feelings. Show them they matter to you and to God by putting aside your needs in favor of theirs. The idea of being created in God’s image and having value, so much so that God sacrificed His Son for them, needs to be brought tangibly to them. You are the vehicle God will use to get them this life-saving, actually, life-transforming message.
Today, think of someone who needs you “alongside” them to help. Your spouse, parent, child, neighbor, work colleague, or friend. When you stand alongside and offer help, you become a powerful vessel through which God supplies courage, hope and happiness. You have the Holy Spirit in you and will directly bring Him to them. What better gift do you have to give than this? God will even bring people to you. So be alert and step up to the plate.
Dear Father God, I thank You, Father, for sending Jesus to encourage me. I thank You for Your Holy Word that offers encouragement each time I open the Bible. I thank You for making it possible for me to encourage others. I pray, Lord, that You help me become an expert in this area. I pray in the name of the one You sent to encourage me, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children said – AMEN!
But encourage one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.