“When they have really learned to love their neighbours as themselves, they will be allowed to love themselves as their neighbours.” #CSLewis – “The Screwtape Letters”
Have you read The Screwtape Letters? It should be on every Christian’s reading list. This quote, in particular, seems to be put into action this time of year. It’s a time when many people become extra generous with their time and their money, and it is very apparent in the organizations and individuals who focus on children. It’s heartwarming to see kids who are disadvantaged in different ways light up when they receive unexpected toys and gifts. I just watched a video clip of our First Lady working with Toys for Tots, handing out gifts and interacting with the children – regardless of your politics, she’s a classy lady. With the media watching and recording so many of these organizations that provide for children and families, it appears that we are putting the commandment of JESUS into effect: “And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22:39 ESV
Sadly, this is a temporary position.
It rarely extends beyond the Christmas season.
Why? Because we humans are selfish and self-centered. We love ourselves over our neighbors. Life has become a race to see who can acquire the most, best, biggest, most expensive “stuff.” Even Christmas has become all about getting attention for us. Selfishness takes over the goodwill. I’m not condemning anyone, and I certainly don’t know why anyone really does what they do. It’s not for me to judge the hearts and motives of anyone. I give everyone kudos who steps out of their comfort zone, physically or financially or both. At least people who need the help are getting it, even if it is just temporarily.
Less selfishness; more selflessness. Isn’t that how we should live our lives? I confess that I may be the chief sinner when it comes to selfishness. I want to be sure I have everything I need (translate: want) before I make any “sacrifice.” Sound familiar to anyone else? The only way to answer is to go back to the reason that this day we call “Christmas” even exists. CHRIST. “Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call His Name Jesus [Immanuel, which means God with us] for He will save His people from their sins.” – Matthew 1:18, 21 ESV
A few years ago, there was a popular saying running through Christian fellowships: WWJD, or What would JESUS do? Maybe that’s the question we should be asking ourselves now. Would He be more concerned with where He was going to sleep that night and where His next meal was coming from, or would He be taking care of someone else’s needs? All we have to do is read the scriptures to know the answer. I can’t think of a single instant where JESUS put His needs over any one else! In fact, the reason He left heaven was because He put our need for salvation over His own LIFE. The Reason for the Season is the SAVIOUR Who put the needs of every human above His own desires. That’s a hard act to follow, but it’s the only way to go.
I have some work to do!