“Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat”….okay, I’ll admit I’m starting to look like the Christmas goose because lately there have been just too many goodies surrounding me to nosh on.
But seriously, “Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat. Please to put a penny in the old man’s hat.”
Every time hubby and I drop some spare change in those red Salvation Army buckets, I pray that someone truly needy will experience a little bit of love and joy this Christmas.
“Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat. Please to put a penny in the old man’s hat. Please to put a penny in the old man’s hat. If you have no penny, a ha’penny will do, if you have no ha’penny, a farthing will do. If you have no farthing, then God bless you!”
I’m praying today in my book of Opportunity, Chapter 12, Page 22, that God will bless those who virtually have nothing. Many of our brothers and sisters in the world will experience Christmas Day with not even a simple present while some of us gobble up gifts like gluttons.
During a discussion with my co-workers yesterday, I was reminded of something I believe is worth sharing. My boss’ sister recently returned from a mission trip to India and that initiated a conversation about those who live in third world countries. Shortly after Christmas, two of my young friends will journey for the second year in a row to Haiti on a short-term trip giving aid where it’s sorely needed.
As I sat comfortably in our office with my co-workers, well-fed, well-clothed, and…well, just well and conversed about our loved ones’ trips, we agreed that the sights seen in those countries must stay with the traveler forever. The poor, the sick, the abused, the needy, the mistreated, the hungry – how could you forget them?
During mission trips, my own children have witnessed firsthand those who are so very less fortunate in far-off lands like Mozambique, Honduras, Belize, and even our southern neighbor, Mexico.
Yet amid all the misery and incredible poverty, I believe every one of these traveling missionaries would tell you the same thing – when they journey abroad to minister to these poorest of God’s children, they are amazed that the least of these, who lack material wealth, have the most incredible joy when they worship God.
I distinctly remember when our son returned from such a trip. He seemed almost too overwhelmed to talk about what he’d seen, but he shared one aspect impacting him the most about those to whom he ministered.
“They literally have nothing, but they are so happy!” our son said with amazement.
Those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord worshiped Him with a zeal that my son had not witnessed before. When these brothers and sisters in foreign lands, even though they have so very little, worship the King, they worship with gladness and exquisite exultation. Their hearts are bursting with happiness even if their stomachs ache from hunger, and they are so grateful for the smallest of gifts.
Compare that to those of us who live with such comfort and extravagance here in the USA. We, who have more than enough, grumble and grouch, whine and complain, and overspend on Christmas gifts, decorations, clothing, and food we don’t really need.
Who among us really understands the true meaning of Christmas?
Those of us who must have the finest decorations bedecking our halls, the larder bursting over in abundance with more food than we could ever possibly need, our shining Christmas trees surrounded by scads of gaily wrapped presents?
Those shoppers who scurry and hurry to find the ‘perfect’ gift no matter what it costs?
Or those fellow believers who live in humble shacks, with one set of clothes on their backs, maybe enough food for one meal, and no presents, no decorations, no gadgetry, no fine dining?
There is one sure thing they possess – the understanding of the most amazing gift ever given at Christmas to mankind. The gift of salvation. And I wonder if that’s the one gift we overlook this time of year? I know I am guilty of that.
Christmas is coming. There will be an abundance of delicious food, shiny decorations, gifts wrapped in pretty paper, and much merry making at our house as all our children will be home here in Mama’s Empty Nest for celebration.
But you know what I really want to fill my house? JOY. True unspeakable, undeniable, unimaginable, unadulterated JOY! The kind of exultation that the shepherds must have felt when the angels appeared in the night sky.
“While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
Glad tidings brought an angel bright:
How great their joy, great their joy,
Joy, joy joy!
Joy, joy joy!
Glory to God in heav’n on high.
Glory to God in heav’n on high.”
And that delight, that kind of elation, that kind of true joy only comes from receiving the gift of salvation, knowing Jesus on a personal level, and hearing His voice as we quiet our hearts and our celebrations to listen for Him and Him alone.
May you be blessed with that kind of joy this Christmas.