Recently, during a happy break at work, I read about a guy who had to pack up his family and leave his country unexpectedly after the latest hit list was issued.
It wasn’t easy, as he had to escape in the middle of the night without time to officially close up his business or make plans for the journey.
His wife had only a few minutes to pack everything needed for a sudden move with a young child. I’m sure she had a lot of reservations about leaving her friends and extended family and becoming a refugee in a foreign land.
No, it wasn’t the latest report of ISIS and their brutalities, but an ancient report of a guy named Joseph. Yep, you know the one.
I pondered that Christmas story all day
Mused over the emotions and decisions Joseph and Mary had to suddenly deal with.
They had just said goodbye to the Magi and fallen asleep for the night. Good day, restful sleep, and BAM!
When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son” (Matthew 2:13-14 NIV).
In only a few short hours their lives turned upside down… scary and uncertain.
Very much like many Christians, Jews, and Muslims fleeing from ISIS this Christmas.
Pondering should lead to purpose
For me, I’ve seen purpose unfold as bags of warm clothes pile up outside our church door, a drop off point for a Youth With a Mission clothing drive for Syrian refugees arriving on the front lines in Greece.
A few warm clothes gleaned from my closet along with some small toys and a blanket or two doesn’t sound like much, but it’s purposeful. And I added in a donation to help with shipping costs, which I know will be huge.
And yes, yes, I know… I’m sure it would have been wise to just send money to the Youth With a Mission base in Greece and had them buy clothing for the refugees, but somehow that wouldn’t put substance to my pondering.
Digging through my closet, praying over the clothes, and hauling them off to the drop off point is good for me. I know that sounds selfish and it is, but in a good kinda way.
This purpose isn’t just about Syrian refugees. It’s about my heart.
Christmas is about heart issues
The warm fuzzies are certainly there. But the heart issues that concern God, the ones that ignite prayers and purpose, cut deep and bring needed change:
- Deeper levels of compassion and understanding
- Costs that touch your bank account and your privacy
- Love that tangibly meets a need and spills out to another’s heart
- Being Jesus with skin on
How to put more “meaningful” into your Christmas story? Ponder Scripture and then seek the Lord for how to put purpose to your pondering.
That will look like finding somewhere to give of yourself, your time, or your hard-earned money.
- Babysit for a single mom so she can have an evening out shopping with friends.
- Haul clothes out of your closet and take them down to the local homeless shelter.
- Visit an elder care facility to visit with the residents and listen to their stories.
- Invite your lonely neighbor or a foreign college student far from home over for Christmas dinner.
- Do something outlandish flexible with no expectations as my friend, Jennie Goutet, did in Paris Now.
Whatever… just do something that is meaningful to you and someone in need.
No one can create your Christmas story but you and Jesus…
…because a legacy of faith is always created from the inside out.
Here’s to a purposeful Christmas,