What do you think about when you think of Christmas? Most of us probably think about organising parties, buying gifts, visiting relatives, planning holidays, negotiating crowded shopping centres…
What do you see when you walk through your city or travel through town? Moment by moment, your eyes will glance buildings, cars, houses, lights, storefronts, streets, corners, the hustle and bustle of the crowds…
I think God sees it all from a different perspective.
When He looks at a city or a town, He sees the people in the buildings, the people driving their cars, the people in their houses, the people shopping and commuting from place to place, the individual in the crowd.
God sees people. God sees you.
But remember, God sees things differently. I’m not suggesting that He is unaware or uncaring about such things – on the contrary, it was His great love for humanity that moved Him to sacrifice the most precious of all Heaven’s possessions: Jesus, His only Son.
But Christmas is where everything changed. Over 2000 years ago, a child was born in Bethlehem, in a manger turning history on its hinges. What may have seemed an insignificant event to many at the time heralded the dawn of “peace on earth, good will to mankind”. Enter Grace.
Yet so many families are struggling and many dread the approach of Christmas because it highlights what they don’t have and cannot do.
And yet Christmas has always been about rescue and hope in the midst of despair and hopelessness. The eyes of the Lord are on the hurting, the needy and the lonely. He sees the desperation in the eyes of the single mother who just lost her job and can’t pay her rent let alone provide gifts for her children. He sees the vulnerable child, afraid to go home. The farmers in rural Australia, who are struggling to feed their cattle, let alone their families. His heart is close to the poor, the sick and the defenceless.
Jesus takes the welfare of people very seriously.
Mtt 25 :35, 40 (MSG) “I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to me.’… ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’
This Christmas season, take a moment to consider others. Their value is far beyond any costly gift or holiday plans. When we extend the hand of love and support to others, it is an act of worship and as far as God is concerned, it is the greatest gift we could possibly give.
We’re just two weeks away from Christmas, and during the entire month of December Hillsong CityCare has been assisting many families facing crisis and financial hardship in various communities across Australia through our Stuff the Bus initiative. This weekend, would you consider simply bringing an unwrapped present or non-perishable food item to one of our bus locations and we will “STUFF THE BUS” with these generous gifts to help people this Christmas? Alternatively, if you’re reading this from afar, visit stuffthebus.org.au and see how you can contribute – the smallest of gifts makes the biggest difference.
Eyes up – May you see the need this Christmas and find wisdom and provision to show the love of God to OTHERS.