Yesterday, I met a young man waiting with me at the check out line. He was wearing what I assumed was an army jacket so I asked if he was in the service. He told me he was not, but that he was a law enforcement officer. I then thanked him for putting his life on the line for us. I mentioned the young officer killed this last week during what seemed a routine traffic stop. We both agreed that it was senseless but that the stresses of the holidays tend to make people do incredible acts of violence out of frustration and pain. He mentioned that there is a marked increase in domestic violence, armed robberies and other crimes during this time of year. Instead of being a joyous time of year, many suffer.
I began to wonder if the way we celebrate has a hand in the pain of so many?. Is our preoccupation with gifts and outdoing our neighbor with the riches of our Christmas celebration made our world a much sadder place at Christmas time? The real question is, what can we do about it?
I would suggest we become more likely to give than to receive. We can also simplify our giving. I have heard some people give only three gifts to their children because three gifts were given to the Christ Child. It could easily be lessened to one gift in honor of the one and only Son that God gave the world. Handmade gifts are also a way to minimize the commercialization of Christmas. Whatever we can do to make Christmas shine for those who are in a difficult place is exactly what I think Jesus would want for His birthday, don't you?
Dear Jesus, You voluntarily came to earth as one of the poorest of the poor. You did not seek riches, but sadly we have made the day we remember Your birthday into a day where the price tag reigns supreme. Forgive us, Lord! Thank You for giving us the opportunity to share our wealth with others just as Your Father shared You, His richest gift. Open our eyes to see You in every needy person. Give us the strength of generous hearts for those who need You now more than ever. Bless our law enforcement officers and keep them safe throughout the year! Come Lord Jesus!