'[Remember] the words the Lord Jesus himself said:
'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"
Acts 20:35, NIV
Angel Tree® volunteer Pam still cries when she pictures one family she and her husband Tom visited while delivering Christmas gifts on behalf of incarcerated parents. The home was cold and sparse—the only visible furniture was a stained mattress on the bare floor and an old, rabbit-eared television set.
Propped against the window was a scrawny evergreen branch from which hung a handmade ornament—one child's humble attempt to observe the Christmas holiday.
THE COST OF CHRISTMAS
As Pam, Tom, and thousands of Angel Tree supporters have discovered, giving to people in great need is often costly—not in terms of dollars but in how much is required of our hearts. Loving and serving people who are hurting can leave us vulnerable to the raw pain of their experiences and circumstances. The need can be overwhelming.
It's tempting to close our eyes and hearts to the depth of the material, spiritual, and emotional needs of those in our communities. But when we do, we miss out on one of the most profound gifts our Father offers His children—the love He pours out on those who give.
Pam's church had decided to deliver two presents for each Angel Tree child they served that Christmas. Pam soon realized these children had many more needs. She and her church-based sewing club got to work making quilts, hats, gloves, and slippers for the children and caregivers affected by crime and incarceration.
We fulfill our purpose as the body of Christ when we share in the gifts and burdens of our community.
As we anticipate the arrival of Christmas tomorrow, let's pause and remember those who are suffering in our communities. Let's pray for the joy and healing that only true reconciliation in Jesus Christ can give.
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