Love. Commit. Endure. Give.
This holiday season is not about what you do, where you go, what you eat. It’s not about what you bought. It’s not even about who you were with. It’s about how you loved, how much you loved and how you gave away that love.
I realize that loving others might feel like the last thing you want to do right now: you may be feeling depressed, rejected, ignored… I get that. But today I hope you will consider the challenge to step outside of yourself and what you may be feeling because the outcome could make a bigger difference than you realize.
Today is a challenge toward love because Christmas is about celebrating the birth of the One who came as Love. The One who came to earth and sacrificed Himself, loving others as no one ever has or ever will.
Isaiah 61 says the reason He came was to preach the Good News, to heal the brokenhearted, to open prison doors, to give us beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning and a garment of praise instead of a heavy and hardening heart.
It is my utmost belief that Jesus wants to do that for you this holiday season. And as you let His love do a work in your heart, would you in turn open your heart to others?
How to begin?
Remember that love is a choice and we can choose to commit to love. Do this by defending, caring for, standing up for, believing in and supporting someone that God has called you to. Commitment is something that is becoming more and more foreign in our culture. But it’s something we are called to and we must heed that calling.
“She gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford…she gave her all”
This widow mentioned in Scripture gave a small amount compared to others around her, but she gave everything she had and Jesus noticed. She reminds me of those who have given beyond our culture’s call of duty: the one that tells us it’s fine to be selfish, to hoard, to withhold, and to give up on people, causes and commitments when times are hard. We need more courageous men and women like the woman in Mark 12 who would step beyond culture’s dangerously low expectation and instead commit to give and to love in big ways, even when it might hurt. Or even when we ourselves are already hurting.
The challenge more specifically for you and for me is to endure and to give.
First of all, endure the holiday stress, anxiety, grieving, loneliness and depression. I know it feels real awful for some of you right about now, but persevere because it will come to an end (even if it feels never-ending right now) and also because you are worth getting to the other side.
Secondly, endure hardship, pain, accusation, or whatever we may come up against in the call to commitment and love. I have no doubt that some of you reading this right now are contemplating calling it quits on something. I encourage you to push through worry, fear, doubt, gossip, discomfort, pain, etc, and persevere in the commitments that you are called to. Stick it out one more day. And then another.
No doubt it is those who chose to never give up on me that have made all the difference in my life. Now I want to give that gift to someone else. And I hope you will too.
So give love and commitment as gifts this Christmas.
Give even when you know you won’t get it back.
Give beyond what you think you can afford to give.
Give your all.
One day you will see the difference it made: not just in your life but in someone else’s too.