There was once a girl who was found one December's day looking through a catalog. Her family had received many a catalog from various company's who all shared one desire: to make more money. All of these catalogs were filled to the brim with things that every child would want, books and toys and craft supplies.
But on this winters day the catalog which this girl was pouring her heart into was not like the ones we have listed. No, certainly not, for this catalogs title read "World Vision" and on the front cover there was a picture of a African child, whose skin was a brown as chocolate and whos face was solemn with the look of never satisfied hunger. Dear reader, this catalog was not filled with things such as jewelry, books, toys, and the like, most certainly not. This catalog was instead filled with sad pictures of those who were lost and without any hope-they were at the depth their despair. As this girl sat down and looked int the heartbroken faces of mothers who had to watch their infants slowly die for malnutrition, she saw young children who were left to defend and provide for their younger siblings since their parents died long ago of AIDS; she saw teen aged girls who had been used terribly and you could clearly see how all hope and joy had been drained out of them with each passing day without even so much as a shimmer of hope or help; she saw Christians, pastors, who had been persecuted for their belief in the Lord. She saw girls who had been burned because they would not denounce their love for their Savior who once suffered much the same as they.
As the girl peered deeper into these pictures she began to see past herself and saw her selfish nature. She thought of how prosperous America was and how sad was the fact that the people of this land didn't even realize that there were others who were perishing most miserably on the other side of the world, yet wouldn't help because money had already been dedicated to their most recent spa trip. As this girl looked into the catalog she saw such more than needy people, she also saw a selfish nation. All of a sudden that book which she wanted didn't seem so important or so necessary for survival. Her life was changed -- or was it?
Dear sisters, this story was not a fiction one, but rather a very true one, one that continues on today. This girl was me. This December mentioned was only last year. This heart-wrentching discovery and new found desire to help others was sprouted not long ago. I remember so well the tears that misted my eyes as I realized how blessed I was -- and how unfortinate they were. How selfish I was to want everything I saw and delighted in, and yet ignore the call to help. How easy it is to want, yet how difficult it is to give. It is true that it is more blessed to give than to receive, but honestly, is this America's motto? To me it is as if America's motto is "get more" and "what you do have is never enough" and with each pasing new Christmas season, and with each passing World Vision catalog, I realize more and more how it isn't all about me.
Yes, though Christmas day was only yesterday I feel as if the Christmas season is never over since we celebrate Christs' birth not only on December 25th, but every day. But I've often wondered what it would be like if every first looked to the needs of others instead of their own first each Christmas? How different this world would be with the unselfish people.
With this world view of what Christmas is through their eyes, it is so easy to get caught up in the rush of it all. A long time ago christmas was more focused on spending time with faily and celebr the birth of christ instead of how it is now-getting as many gifts as possible. While I am not saying that gifts are "bad" since I don't think they are! It can be a reminder of Christs' free gift of salvation to us-however sometimes we get in the worlds view without even knowing it. We try and think of everything we would li christmas and make a long list. We focus on what we can get instead of what can give. Christmas is truly about Christ-who gave eveything to us freely-even when we didn't deserve it. So we as "Christs' reflectors" must reflect that light and grace shown through Jesus and be a giver instead of a receiver.
This Christmas lets bring our focus to the TRUE meaning of christmas and focus on Chrit birth more than any gifts we will get. May we all keep the true meaning of christmas in perspective this year and ever one after that!