Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Lighting up the dark this Christmas

I'm taking a break today from posting about writing. If you'll indulge me, I feel led to do some reflecting.

My cousin found out a month or so ago that she has Stage 4 ovarian cancer. She has a husband who adores her and a 10-year old son. She's currently undergoing chemo.

After being extremely fatigued over the summer and being extremely sick and dehydrated for the past few weeks, my uncle (my cousin's father-in-law) discovered he has lung cancer, which has already matastasized to his bone.

One of my very best friends got divorced this past year from a very emotionally abusive man. She lost her job last month and is quickly running out of money.

Yesterday, my Bible Study group prepared a gift basket for a woman with chronic pain and health problems, whose husband virtually abandoned her to move several states away, leaving her to raise two children on barely any income and no support.

Maybe you know someone in a similar circumstance. Maybe you're the circumstance.

There are people (maybe you) who won't be having the perfect magical Christmas that the television commercials portray. There are people in pain and grieving and who will spend their holidays in a hospital or alone. I wonder how God feels when I get so caught up in my own little life and the crazyness of the holidays that I miss opportunities to be a light to those who are hurting. While I complain about the crowds at the mall or all the baking and wrapping I have to do, there are some who would give anything just to have enough money to buy their child a gift or have someone to bake for.

Shame on me.

Have you ever sat in the dark staring at your Christmas tree lights? Isn't it beautiful? Imagine that the Christmas tree is your world and you're one of those lights. You can add to the beauty of your world. You can shine to those around you.

Oh, my holidays will probably always be filled with shopping, wrapping, baking, planning...but I will be more aware of those around me. I will be spending more time praying, being a friend, and simply shining a light to those who are hurting. Want to join me? Consider the following ideas:

*Pay for the car behind you in the drive-thru line.

*Invite a hurting friend for coffee.

*Head to the nursing home and spend time talking to the residents - ask the nurses which ones don't get many visitors and focus on them. Maybe bring a small gift to pass around or bring the kids to sing Christmas carols (if you're kids aren't little anymore, borrow your nieces and nephews).

*Hang lights or decorate the home of a single mother or someone in chronic pain. Offer to take down those lights after the holidays.

*Offer to babysit for a frazzled stay-at-home mom.

*Shovel (or snowblow) the driveway of an elderly neighbor.

*Bake several mini loaves of banana bread and pass them out to the homeless (or your neighbors!)

*Adopt a family for Christmas.

*Hire an out-of-work husband and father to do odd jobs around your house.

*Pray, pray, pray for those you come into contact with every day. You may not know their needs, but God does!

Below is one of my favorite Christmas songs. It's a perfect compliment to this post. I hope you'll take a minute to check it out.

What about you?
How do you keep things in perspective and look outside of yourself during the holidays?


Anonymous said...

Beautiful, beautiful post. My husband and I are some of those doing without gifts this year - we're doing everything we possibly can just to make ends meet, keep food on the table, gas in the car, utilities on. I WANT to shop for my children (grown) - I just CAN'T. And it kills me. But there are more important things at stake this year - my oldest son was saved as a boy, but now that he's grown, thinks he's too smart for God. My daughter-in-law doesn't know Jesus at all, and doesn't care to know him. My youngest son struggles to get settled - but at least he acknowledges God.

This year, my gifts to them won't come from a store. Nor will they be able to unwrap them. My gift to them will be extended time in prayer daily - that they discover Jesus all over again - and make God the primary focus of their lives.

Thank you, Lynda. Your words have blessed me today.

Lynda Lee Schab said...

Thanks so much for stopping by and for your precious comment. As difficult as it is to see your kids hearts turned away from God, hang onto the truth that the devil doesn't stand a chance against the power of a praying parent. Prayers for you and your family.

Joanne Sher said...

I've never heard this song before - brought me to tears, as did your post.

As I read this, Kathy Troccoli's "Go Light Your World" ran through my head--and it also fits. Beautiful.

Thanks for this reminder.

Lynda Lee Schab said...

Newsong has the song "Light Your World" (not the same as Kathy's) on their Christmas Shoes album. Chokes me up every time.

wordglow said...

Lynda,this is a BEAUTIFUL post.God has been showing me in the Word again lately just how valuable our words are as writers. And that He has put them on our tongue! (So amazing!) We can lift others up, encourage, instruct, inspire -- even heal. I'm always praying that God will anoint my words with his light so that they will wondrously do all that he says in Is 61... I was reading yesterday on Heart to Heart with Holley that she has been doubting the significance of writing words. Never doubt the power and beauty in this gift! I love that Jesus IS THE Word and He allows us to be his ambassadors and partners in declaring it...allowing Him to bring more light and life and healing to others... Out of work myself right now, it can be quite scary until I turn my eyes and heart back to Him. (He keeps encouraging me as I read His Word - as well as wonderful words He gives others to "speak" out... ) And I still want to find ways to shine His heart...thanks for your light ideas! -- Pam D.

Di Smith said...

Beautiful and thought provoking, not to mention heart wrenching. Thanks for being genuine and shining your light, dear Lynda.

wordglow said...

Forgot to mention... I will keep those you listed in this post in prayer, too! As you said, God moves in our prayers to defeat the one who is trying to rob and steal...

Sally said...

I never have to look far to see how blessed I am. My prayers to those who are suffering, cancer seems to be blazing a wide trail through many I know, too.

Susan said...

That was a very poignant post, Lynda. It's so true that many people are hurting this holiday season. To answer your question, I baked a gingerbread house, gingerbread boys and girls, and sugar cookies for a poor family.Of course, that meant buying a large supply of candies, too. The kids LOVED decorating and got to take everything home.

That was one small light but it was a light nonetheless. Take care. Susan