Matthew 25:37-40 – Then the righteous will answer him, "Lord when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?" The King will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." (NIV)
For me, the Christmas season officially begins with the appearance of a box of candy canes in the passenger's seat of my car, usually the Monday after Thanksgiving. My wife puts them there for me to give to the tollbooth attendants as I travel to and from work each day. It is one of her ways of sharing the Christmas spirit with others whose existence we all too easily ignore. At first I was reluctant and embarrassed to be part of this little scheme of hers. What could be sillier than handing a candy cane to some person whom I don't know, who certainly doesn't know me and is only interested in making sure they can give me the right amount of change as fast as possible? However, as is so often the case in these matters, my wife knew better. The reaction of the attendants is invariably one of surprise, followed by happiness and appreciation, and quite frequently a sincere "God bless you".With those frequent "God bless you"s, I have come to learn that the true value of the gift is not the little piece of red and white candy, but rather the acknowledgement of their existence as individuals; that they are something more than the wallpaper of my days. They are live human beings — God's children, just like me — and worthy of recognition as such. It is not so much the size of the gift, or the elegance of the wrapping, but the mere act of giving (especially when it is so easy to pass by and not give) that is important and gives the gift value.
How right our Lord was to point out that when we give to another of God's children, regardless of rank or position, and regardless of the size of the gift, we give to the Lord. Or as the old saying described it, "We are putting a feather in an angel's wing."
Prayer: Gracious Lord, help us to see you in each other as we go about our daily business. Open our hearts to give what we can whenever we can, so that by doing so we may demonstrate your love. Amen!