Community

Giving from your Abundance this Christmas

Though the Christmas Season is filled with busy shopping, parties and celebrations, it is also the season where our heart strings are tugged and we feel the need to be compassionate to those less fortunate who may not be enjoying presents, feasts, and family gatherings.

 

You see it all the time: panhandlers on the streets, cold and lonely asking for change to buy food. The homeless are often ignored amidst the busyness of shopping and commuting during the Christmas Season. Consider this poem written by a homeless man in Ottawa, ON:

 

Invisible
by “Crazy Dave” (Dave Dessler)

The wind blows, the leaves flutter
with its touch, the birds sitting on the branches
chirping,

People pass, oblivious to this, and anything
else, as they rush through, their busy day,

Seconds tick, Hours pass, before long, the
Day is Done,

And still I sit here, knowing what
it’s like, to be Invisible

Some walk by, too busy to give the time of day. Others prefer not to look. You may want to stop to give yet the thought crosses your mind about whether these individuals are really using the money in their hats for sustenance or drugs and alcohol.

There are two camps most of us fall into: You convince yourself the latter must be true for them to be on the streets in the first place, feeling a little bit better about yourself, you move on OR you give them the benefit of the doubt, sparing what change you have and also move on, patting yourself on the back.

Now what about the next guy and all these other charitable organizations vying for our attention and wallets around Christmas? How do we give when we don’t have enough for ourselves?
Reminding me of Matthew 25:34-40, where Jesus blesses those who cared for, fed and clothed him, it was then asked of Jesus, “When did we see you hungry and fed you, needing clothes and clothed you, and thirsty and give you something to drink?”

Jesus replied, “Truly, I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Is it all too hard?

We have responsibility to give and care for the needy around us as though they were Jesus himself.  When we give, we will lack nothing (Proverbs 28:7). What others do with what is given to them is their responsibility, just as how we must steward what we are blessed with. Each of us are dealt our own hands and we must use it to the best of our ability.

Sometimes we feel that we aren’t in a financial situation comfortable enough to give. Sometimes we want to ensure that what we give isn’t fueling drugs, alcohol and other negative habits. Even so, scripture tells us that if we give generously, abundantly more will be provided! It doesn’t say give to only what YOU deem is a suitable cause; it says to give to the poor. Period.

God never asks us to give more than we can. We are wired to protect ourselves and hoard, but God tells us to care for the poor even if it is seemingly disadvantageous to ourselves. Trust that God will provide for you and give generously as you are called. What may seem to be a sacrifice on your part may be used for even greater purposes than you had intended.

Giving doesn’t necessarily refer to money, but also time and effort. Be creative with how you give this Christmas by searching for volunteer opportunities, joining a charitable initiative or simply bringing awareness to charitable organizations.

And, if you’re passing by a homeless person on the street, whether you have already given to a charitable organization, the guy up the block, or donated to a drive, offer a smile and a genuine “Merry Christmas” acknowledging his/her presence. Have the courtesy to ask them how they are doing. It makes the world of a difference!


 

 

Kona