In 1963, Andy Williams recorded one of the most popular Christmas songs: “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” The title and tune are memorable, but most of the verses are a little bizarre and out of date. Not too many of us “toast marshmallows, go caroling in the snow” (especially here in the South), or “tell scary ghost stories” during the Christmas season. However, we do identify with the sentiment of happy times with friends and family. For many years I simply did not enjoy the Christmas season. I grew weary of the huge crowds of unhappy, selfish, griping, whining people who came out to shop while pushing and shoving one another for the latest doorbuster or sale item. They bought gifts they couldn’t afford for people they didn’t even like! The ones who received those gifts brought them back, creating more “mayhem” in the stores. And why did we have to start Christmas music in November? Yep, I was the “Grinch.” But a few years ago, my heart, like that of Mr. Grinch, grew considerably.
I am now more fond of the Christmas season than ever, and my love for people continues to grow each year. Perhaps you are as I once was; you dread the crowds, the confusion, and the commercialization of the Christmas season. Jesus was weary of the crowds as well, but what He did, changed my attitude and actions. “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). He was going to let His light shine!
Biblical compassion goes way beyond “feeling pity for the suffering and misfortunes of others.” Compassion is a form of love that moves a person to action. Jesus didn’t just feel sorry for people, He did something about it. He encouraged others, taught them, healed them, forgave them, died to pay their sin debt, rose from the dead to show them victory over sin and death, and has prepared a home for them in Heaven! So what can you and I do to be more like Jesus, to show genuine compassion to the people we encounter this Christmas season?
Here are a few suggestions:
PRAY FOR THEM – even in a large crowd, we can pray for the people we see. Instead of complaining about the screaming, overactive kids, pray for them, and for their mother who is weary, overworked, and struggling with numerous issues. (1 Timothy 2:1)
PASS OUT A TRACT OR FLYER – invite someone to church, to the Christmas program, or simply hand them a tract with a gospel message. (Matthew 22)
TELL THEM ABOUT JESUS – strike up a conversation with the person in front or behind you in line. Lead the conversation to spiritual things. (Romans 1:16)
REACH OUT WITH HELP OR ENCOURAGEMENT – Find a hurting person and take them to lunch. Visit a retirement center or nursing home. Serve at a rescue mission or other place that gives free meals. (Hebrews 13:16)
GIVE – Give of yourselves to others. Adopt a child or family to give gifts to this Christmas. Give of your time, talents, and treasure to your church. (Romans 22:5-8)
Don’t be a GRINCH, get out in the crowd, let your light shine, and make it THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR!