"You make me glad by Your deeds, O LORD, I sing for joy at the works of Your hands."
~ Psalm 92:4
Do you have a heart of giving, friend? Are you a giver or a Grinch, well . . . a getter?
Every year, when the season of Advent comes around, where do any of us stand in either category? Are we eager to do special things for family and friends, as well as those in need? Or do we actually dread Christmas?
I remember the Christmas I was a college sophomore in Kansas, and my parents couldn't afford to bring me home. I was very sad, and so was my family back in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania—such a long distance away.
After a few days of moping and feeling very sorry for myself, I decided I should attempt to make the best of my circumstances. So, with a lump in my throat, I went with my uncle and aunt to visit my grandmother and another aunt in Lawrence, Kansas, where I was surprised to discover more of my father's relatives coming, my Chicago uncle and aunt were also spending Christmas there, along with their adorable baby girl.
Now, going backward even further in time, I had always been one of the young girls helping in the church nursery, playing on the floor with the toddlers and—when I was younger still—sitting in a rocking chair to hold the tiniest infants. Helping with the little ones was sheer delight, and I often wondered how many children I might have when I was grown and married.
So, during that bittersweet Christmas far from home, I offered to help with my dimple-cheeked baby cousin, and my grandma said she’d never seen me smile so much. I helped her, too, in the kitchen by peeling pounds upon pounds of potatoes, setting the long table, and drying mountains of dishes as more and more of my father’s relatives began to arrive for the big day.
Even now, all these decades later, I remember that very different Christmas, special because I opened and extended my giving heart.
Not surprisingly, I wasn’t nearly as disappointed as I thought I’d be even though I missed my dear parents and my close younger sister, Barbara. And when the time came to return home after the second semester, oh, what a reunion it was!
This Christmas, what if we, all of us, had a heart of giving, perhaps even sacrificially, seeking out someone in need of a friend to help make their life happier, if not joyful, at this sometimes depressing season for so many? Sharing the gift of salvation, the reason Jesus came to earth that long-ago Christmas.
Wishing you great joy for this Advent season and always,
1) I have completed the initial proofing for The Beverly Lewis Amish Heritage Cookbook, 20th-Anniversary Edition, coming Fall 2024. More information about the release date, beautiful cover, and where to preorder will be shared in the months ahead.
2) My handcrafted Christmas cards are flying off the shelves, friends. Choose from three exciting and new Christmas cards from my sister, Barbara, and me at: http://www.amishcheer.com
Have yourself a very Merry Christmas!