A Less Than Ideal Christmas

Tuesday, December 26           

A lot of people—including us—had a joyous Christmas with family, food and festivities.  But it wasn’t like that for millions of people.  I think of older folks that live in an assisted living place.  Some of them have no living relatives at all.  They are physically cared for, but they lack a lot in other ways.  Many endure constant pain and discomfort.  Christmas could well be a bad time for them.  They will remember past joyous occasions, but have no hopes of experiencing any of that again.  And there are others who don’t even have their physical needs met, street people who feel abandoned by family and friends, people who are cold 24/7, who have to scrounge for something to eat.  Many of the homeless are children.  And this is in America.  Much of the world suffers far worse conditions, including inhumane treatment at the hands of hateful ethnic groups. Apart from the physical needs, millions of them have never heard of Christ.  This baby in a manger event occurred about 20 centuries ago, yet much of our world hasn’t heard about it.  So, yes, it’s sad, and we could spend a lot of time trying to explain it or feeling condemned for failing to proclaim the good news any better than we have, or not alleviating the problems of the needy.  Nor should we waste time castigating past generations for their failures in reaching their world.  It wouldn’t do any good, of course.  History is history, not to be re-lived.  But what we are responsible for is our own generation.  Yesterday is gone.  Today is still today, and opportunities are all around us.  I’m thankful for government agencies and private organizations such as the Salvation Army, downtown missions, and for people who are reaching out to the needy children of the world—Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse, Mission to Children in California, the Awana program, et al.  They need our support.  While I’m comforted by the fact that God is in control, it can’t be an excuse to sit back and enjoy life while others are suffering and need the “good news” that we have a savior.  The need is clear.  So is our commission.

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