December 27, 2012
Hopefully everyone had a happy Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday, feeling grateful for all the blessings, and hardships, this past year. Weirdly tucked into this long month is the phenomenon, starting with Black Friday, ofall the commercialism and shopping which is supposed to get us into the mood for the season of giving. Following this giving tradition like many others, we purchase or make gifts, small tokens of appreciation, for those who have provided some service to us through the year … teachers, kid’s bus drivers, the mailman and paperman, many different vendors for Lighthouse, as well as some neighbors. The gifts are always received with such happiness and delight.
But have you ever had the experience of carrying a gift to give to someone, but running into someone else, who thinks the gift was for them? Mistakenly assuming the gift was for them, they reach for it and expectantly ask, “This is for me?” and then begin thanking you profusely as you give it to them because you don’t know what else to do. Their face lights up, a shocked glee, and they start searching for something to give you in return, all because of a miscommunication combined with unwritten rules of relational etiquette.
I was struck by how a simple act of (unintended) kindness brought such happiness to one person. For a few minutes, that gift transformed the man’s day. Based on his reaction, it’s fair to say this man was in desperate need of some attention and kindness. I know I have been on the receiving end as well. The weeks before Christmas, some of our vendors send unexpected gifts. Such a warm and loving feeling immediately ushered in hope and promise for the day and week. It really is so cool when an unexpected blessing interrupts our day.
We all are beaten down by this world at times, making it hard to notice how God wants to work through us to touch others and address their needs. Then sometimes, God is also using others to reach out to us through their actions. But if our head is down in self-pity, frustration, bitterness, or resignation, we won’t see who God brought into our lives to impact us or for us to impact.
Today, think of one or two people whose lives you might change, even for a few minutes, by delivering some unexpected kindness. There are so many people around us who live in quiet desperation. I doubt you will have to look far, and if you take a moment to scratch the surface, you will see their need. … maybe one of them lives in your own home. Be a Lighthouse and shine God’s love on others. If you are struggling, look up and pay attention. God is reaching out to you, but to receive His grace and comfort you have to be looking for them. Look for the Lighthouse He puts in your life. Embracing you role of giving or receiving a gift is your decision, so choose well.
O God, I thank You, Father, for leading me to others who are in need of some kindness. I confess, Lord, that I am much too focused on myself … on my issues and needs. Sometimes I let the events that don’t go my way distract me from understanding and seeing Your love in my life. I pray that You fill me with Your Holy Spirit, and guide me to those in need of love and attention. Let them see Your radiant light shining through me and onto them. Help me also appreciate Your wonderful servants who bring Your love, compassion and grace to me. I pray in the name of the one You sent to transform me though forgiveness and love, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
“’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:13,14