Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Light and Shadows

Romans 13:8 (New International Version)
Love, for the Day is Near
8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law

We just finished one of the best of the best parties, my dear team and I. Here are Greg and Susan; Frank and Lesley-Ann, and me between Lesley-Ann and Susan. These photos were taken before the room filled with 100 people with disabilities and their staff. It was divine disorder from that point on. Joy upon joy like nothing else I've experienced.

I've been thinking though, how for so many people, the Christmas season adds to pressures that lie just below the surface. Christmas presses down like invisible fingers around a boil that is already painful, making it feel as if it will burst.

Christmas is like a Rembrandt painting. Rembrandt applied paint with his palate knife in a technique that was then revolutionary and unconventional, creating the impression of sharply contrasting light and shadow.

Intense joy surrounds this season, but the lonely feel lonelier and those in any kind of trouble find it harder.

Someone recently told me about a woman in his church who came to him when he was a deacon and said, "When we were struggling financially, this church helped us at Christmas; now that we are doing well, we would like to help someone," and they asked for a family to help. They were given details of a need, but when they arrived with their donation of help, it was with a car overflowing with gifts and food; more than he had ever seen, and he said that they have done it every year since, just like the movie, Pay it Forward.

So, lets look around and see the hurting behind the bright greetings. Lets be real. Lets be compassionate to those who are spending this Christmas in hospital, or who are lonely. Take time to pray, or visit; to listen; to give lavishly and liberally as that woman did, when it is within your power to do so. Being Jesus to those in the shadows seems more true to Christmas than anything else.

Galatians 6:2 (New International Version)
2 Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.


Marilyn said...

This is a topic near and dear to my heart. I'm glad you wrote about it.

Brenda said...

I love your Christmas clothes, sister Susan! You look good in red. And I've experienced a few of those 'Friendship Group' Christmas gatherings myself. They give you such a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. Our 'friends' are such a pick-me-up! God bless them all!