Acts 20:35 – In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: "It is more blessed to give than to receive." (NIV)
It was December 24th. Everyone around me was ready for Christmas, but I wasn't. As a child of seven, I'd been in the hospital for two months with kidney problems, and I arrived home in time to spend the holiday week with my family. The big box of gifts that the staff at the hospital had sent home with me occupied my thoughts, and I had no intention of sharing.
Christmas morning came, and I opened my presents: two dolls, colouring books, a top, and some other toys. I was so excited, but my total focus was on what I had received, not on celebrating Christ's birthday. Fortunately, I had a wise mother. "You have two dolls, Elaine. Maybe you'd like to give one to Penny," she suggested. At first, I didn't agree, for giving away a new doll to a neighbour girl was not my idea of Christmas.
Mom held my hand as we made our footsteps in the newly fallen snow. She took me to a garage, and, together, we climbed a ladder to the attic. Here, a small girl about my age peered out at me from her bed, where she was huddled up in her patched quilt. The room was cold, no decorations, and no presents.
Penny loved the doll, and I have never forgotten my lesson in kindness.
As we prepare our hearts for this holy season, are we focusing on what we are hoping to receive, or are we following God's example and giving to others?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, prepare our hearts for this season. Help us to see what you would have us do in order to demonstrate your love to others. Amen.