This week when I was running some errands and listening to the radio in the car, I heard the radio host talking about giving at Christmas time. Often times I tune out a lot of the talking portions from hosts on the radio and listen more intently to music, but the subject piqued my interest so I paused to listen for a moment.
As he went on he was talking about really considering what we are “giving” to this year at Christmas, and if the cause was something good to give to or not. Typically in past years I probably would have nodded in agreement, and in this particular moment it wasn’t that I disagreed with the host, but that I wished he would have talked about giving at an even deeper level.
You see, this time every year despite who we are, our religious affiliations, or our political stance, almost everyone I know seems to be more readily giving or willing to give during the Christmas season. Which is absolutely beautiful, and I love that part of Christmas, but this particular message made me stop to pause and reflect more deeply for a moment past how much more quickly I press “buy” on my amazon account, grab my checkbook to write to a needy cause, or say “yes” when at the grocery store to donate dollars to a local food bank this time of year….I realize how often my “giving” comes in the form of my finances, and a box checked on my checklist than an event deeper sacrifice that comes from giving of my time, and choosing to get my hands dirty.
Getting our “hands dirty” goes way beyond giving of our finances. Getting our hands dirty means willingly being obedient to whatever God leads us to do despite whether it inconveniences us or not….
- Turning around when we see the homeless man, and grabbing a few groceries for him or a sandwich at the nearest fast food restaurant even if it means we just got back from the store and have to go back again
- Showing up at a friends house who is struggling with postpartum depression with coffee, a smile, and a listening ear. Maybe help fold laundry or do dishes if it’s needed and she seems ok with it.
- Go on a mission trip
- Help at a food bank or serve meals at a shelter
- Get involved in organizations like Big Brother Big Sister, Boys and Girls Clubs, or youth groups and give kids positive role models to look up to.
- Bring groceries to a family in need
- Help a widow or struggling family with home projects that they don’t have the knowledge or resources to be able to complete on their own
- Foster/Adopt a child
I could go on, and on….there are endless opportunities surrounding us in our own communities of ways we can serve others by getting our hands dirty, and these needs don’t just exist at Christmas…they exist all year round.
In this journey of foster care we often get praised for the work we are doing, and the encouragement is so helpful especially on the hard days, but even we must still remember that yes, we maybe currently fostering, but our own checklist isn’t “done.” This maybe something that God wants us to focus our energy and attention on most right now in this moment, but if we open our eyes and our hearts to really listen he often times gives us more assignments even in the midst of busy-ness, and if we don’t stop to pause and reflect, we may miss it….we miss HIS best yes.
I pray that this season reminds us most of what God sent His son to us for….
He was the Servant King, and His life is a reflection of what He desires for us to become.
So much hope was wrapped up in swaddling cloths in a manger that first Christmas. A king who would be far different from any other king who ever lived. A baby, born in the image of God who chose to sacrifice His life for us, and get His own hands dirty that we too could live.