Give more time, love and thought this holiday season
Faith & Culture:
The traditional story of Christmas as related in the Bible prompts three suggestions as to what we should be willing to give more of during this annual season of giving.
Give more time
Bible scholars vigorously debate how much time it would have taken for the wise men spoken of in St. Matthew’s gospel to travel from their homes in eastern lands to worship the Christ child born in Bethlehem. The point is, a significant commitment of their time was required for the sages to accomplish their mission of worship.
Time, of course, is the currency of the 21st century. Similar to long-standing complaints regarding cash, we frequently complain that there is not being enough of it, it goes too fast, you can’t get it back and so forth.
For anyone interested in the essence of the Christian understanding of Christ’s birth, however, it is instructive to note that when the Christ child became an itinerant teacher, he spent considerable time addressing the needs of the sick, crippled, disdained and notorious.
Today, that might look like a trip to visit a forgotten soul at Bethany Care Centre, assisting in the transfer of food items from the Festival of Lights to the Airdrie Food Bank or participating in the preparation and serving of Christmas dinner at the Town and Country Centre.
The opportunities available at this time of year are many for those willing to give more time.
Give more love
St. Luke’s gospel informs us that following the announcement to Mary by the angel that she would mother the Christ child, she responded by virtually stating “whatever.”
When one pauses to consider the significant scandal and inconvenience that Mary’s cooperation in the divine plan would have generated, it’s imperative to grasp that her willingness to participate was indicative of her profound love for God.
Love, of course, is the fundamental distinctive of the Christian way of life.
Such love goes far beyond merely loving family members and those close to us, for even the animals look after their own.
The kind of love underscored by the Christmas message is a love for all people, which was and is quantified not by rhetoric but by action.
Our world and our community need more Marys- people who are willing to say “whatever” to God and permit an intrusion into their private space so that others might be touched by love this Christmas.
Give more thought
What was Dr. Luke referring to when he wrote in the birth narrative regarding Mary that “she observed all these things and gave them a lot of thought?”
I’m not entirely sure but perhaps Mary was reflecting on the major changes that had recently invaded her life.
Perhaps she was thinking about some changes in her thinking that had been required to carry the Christ child.
I saw a post on Facebook the other day that contained this unattributed yet provocative sentiment, worthy of careful thought:
“People were created to be loved; things were created to be used. The reason the world is in chaos is because things are being loved and people are being used.”
This Christmas, as a part of your celebrations, I respectfully encourage you to give more thought to why you do or don’t do what you do or don’t do.
Tim Callaway is the pastor of Faith Community Baptist Church. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org