The holiday season is almost over and we are getting ready to begin a new year. During Thanksgiving and Christmas, attitudes around the world change. People become more caring and loving than at any other time of the year. Churches and organizations give out food baskets and help those who are going through difficult times. However, when the season ends, most folks revert back to their regular routines until the holiday season comes along again. Unfortunately, many people remain in need all year long. Many will still be unemployed. Many will still be homeless. Many will still be struggling and trying to make ends meet. The Bible says the poor will always be with us.
We are going through some economic hardships and it is easy to focus on your own needs and desires. Taking care of oneself has always been the desire of the flesh. We need to move beyond the flesh and be willing to share with others as we have done or always do during Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The spirit of giving and loving one another is a Christ-like characteristic we need to have every day of the year. This attitude comes with knowing God. When Christ comes into your life, he changes your nature. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new."
Being in Christ, you take on the nature of Christ, who cares about and loves everyone all the time.
Benevolence is a daily task. It is a characteristic possessed by children of God. Jesus said, "They will know that you are my disciple by the love that you share one toward another."
Love is action. Jesus showed his love for us by giving his life for our sins. It’s time to show our love for mankind, not just during the holiday season, but throughout the year.
You may be wondering how one person can make a difference. I am reminded of the story of a young man who walked along the seashore picking up starfish and casting them back into the sea. Starfish cannot live long out of the ocean and there were many starfish along the shore. A woman saw the boy tossing the starfish back into the sea and asked him why he was doing it. He explained that they could not survive out of the sea. The woman told the boy that there were so many starfish on the beach that what he was doing was not going to make much of a difference. He picked one of the starfish up, tossed it back into the sea and said, "It made a difference to that one."
We may not be able to help everyone, but to the ones we do reach out to, it will make a difference.
There are many ways you can help those in need. Donate to local charities that help needy people, adopt a family in need or help your church with mission work. Places like the Manna House and the Kirk Healing Center aid the homeless and those who are struggling. The Manna House does an outstanding job feeding the hungry. The Kirk Healing Center does a great job helping those who are homeless. You can even contact Liberty County’s Homeless Prevention Program and find out what you can do to help.
Love and care go a long way. The spirit of Christmas needs to continue throughout 2011. Find a way to assist those in need. A little bit of help can make a difference in someone’s life. I hope that you have had a very merry Christmas and that you will have a prosperous New Year.
Jackson is the pastor of the St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church and a member of the United Ministerial Alliance.