By Stephanie Ciccarelli
December 14, 2011
Is this what Christmas looks like?
The popular John Lennon song "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)" speaks to us about how we have not done much for those who are suffering yet fails to share suffering's remedy; the true meaning of Christmas and the hope it brings through perfect love that drives out fear.
What if we were to cease starring in the role of Bystander and not just hope that the coming year is indeed a good one without any fear?
Join me in today's VOX Daily as we explore what this time of year is truly calling us to and how you can make a difference, despite the odds.
Unlike most people, I haven't set foot in a shopping centre as of yet. With just over a week until Christmas, you might think I'm setting myself up for a chaotic braving of the mall. Rest assured my friends, I intend on doing no such thing.
That being said, I have decided to do something radical and not set foot in a mall, period. No, I'm not shopping online. I'm simply not going to give gifts, at least not in the traditional sense.
No doubt you noticed the image accompanying this post and can appreciate the contrast. Images like this, to a degree, can lose their meaning unless we understand their implications and take action.
While you won't be able to resolve the many issues plaguing humanity, you can let these words into your heart and make a decision to fight the battle on a personal level by not caving to our insatiable need for 'more.'
Regardless of what the media and marketers tell us, our constant need for 'more' does nothing but leave us dissatisfied and empty, hungering for 'more.'
Why is this?
There is a hole in our hearts that cannot be filled by things that perish such as food, clothing, toys, electronics, automobiles and so on.
What then doesn't pass away?
The list comprises of a few things, and surprisingly, they cannot be bought, cost us nothing and have infinite worth. Those things are: Faith, Hope and Love, the greatest of these being Love. These gifts were not made by man which is why they endure beyond this season and this life.
For me, the birth of Jesus Christ, who came for all people, is why Christmas is celebrated. Everything I have said about truth, faith, hope and love stems from my relationship with my Lord and Saviour, who came down from heaven to earth as a baby boy born in a humble stable and laid in a lowly manger two thousand years ago in a little town called Bethlehem.
While the magi who followed the star gave this little king costly gifts including gold, frankincense and myrrh, Jesus, the one who gave his life that we might live, simply asks for our hearts.
What would it look like to give gifts that endure?
What does it take to truly touch someone and make a lasting impact? Giving your heart, as the poet Christina Rossetti points out, tends to work best. The list below contains a number of ways you can do this.
à¹ Creating artwork
à¹ Sharing your time
à¹ Being present
à¹ Inviting people into your home (hospitality)
à¹ Showing love to others
à¹ Encouraging those around you
à¹ Writing a grateful letter or email
à¹ Sincerely complimenting someone
à¹ Letting another person know they are treasured and have worth
à¹ Doing something selfless
à¹ Smiling at a stranger
à¹ Opening a door
à¹ Donating funds to a charity to provide gifts for the less fortunate
à¹ Giving the gift of forgiveness
Hear me now when I say that gift giving in itself isn't wrong, nor is it wrong to spend money on gifts to give to other people. What I am saying is that we need to be more thoughtful with how we are giving, what we are giving and the reason for it.
Do you dare to go against the grain?
If you take me up on this challenge, let me know how you're doing! I'd love to hear from you.
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