Monday, December 1, 2014
As we reflect on our recent Thanksgiving holiday , I cant help but wonder what we ,as the church, did to reach others in response to the abundance of blessings we share.
Let me back up just a bit and tell you that I just returned from the "woods" of Coleman, Georgia, where I spent the last eight days with my husband, hunting. Now, when I say the woods, I mean we are literally miles from the nearest gas station and or store of any kind. All you will see when drive through this little town of Coleman is some homes ,one small post office, a church and a blinking light. Oh , and did I forget to mention that there is no cell service unless you are in certain hunting stands, near a tower and clear skies. I'm sure to most of you this sounds like a terrible way to spend your thanksgiving but as I "rewind" my thoughts backward I have truly been able to see all the blessings. Now, mind you, as I am using the outhouse bathroom , I did have fleeting moments of feeling like a true pilgrim!
I feel like year after year as we celebrate this wonderful holiday we are often missing out on opportunities that we ,along with our children can reach out to others. Now, don't get me wrong, I love everything about Thanksgiving, the incredible food, watching the Macy's day parade and most of all time with friends and family. But in all of our thanksgivings, like indoor bathrooms, what and how are we responding to the lost, poor and lonely people around us. Growing up my mom and dad always made a point of inviting a college student away from home or without family over to share in our Thanksgiving day. What a great lesson they were teaching us just through that little gesture. I think what is truly in my heart is that in response to our many blessings we, the church and people of God, should be inviting the reaching out to the "least of these" more than ever during the holiday season. For example, hosting a thanksgiving dinner at church where "we serve" the meal to the homeless and less fortunate of our communities. Invite them to our homes or family gatherings.
I know this sounds uncomfortable but God did not call us to comfort, He called us to compassion, service and love for the unlovable. As I was without my ''comforts of home" this past week my heart was saddened for so many who live like that every day. Lord, Forgive us for not taking the opportunities we have to reach those who are lonely and less fortunate around us. Forgive us for our selfishness in wanting to spend all of our time during the holidays, in the comfort of our homes ,with friends and family when so many are without. Help us Lord to see the needs around us and in response, share and invite them into our lives and families so that we can truly show and spread the message of the Gospel in and through our cities and communities.
" God create a clean heart in me and RENEW a steadfast spirit within me. Do not take me from your presence or your Holy Spirit but restore the JOY of your salvation to me, and give me a WILLING SPIRIT. Psalm 51:10-12.
May each of us begin this holiday season with a renewed vision of how we can change lives through simple acts of serving and loving those around us, remembering the same Christ who gave His life for us, gave His life for them as well!