I love Christmas — the lights, family gatherings, decorations, music and gift giving. It’s a time of year when people show compassion to the hurts and needs of others.
We see it displayed in the days leading up to Christmas by children taking gifts to the elderly in the nursing home, groups singing carols and delivering cookies in the hospitals, families adopting children in need of clothing and toys and residents of the local community gathering to prepare and serve a meal for the homeless. It’s amazing how ministry-active we can become at this season of the year as we serve others in the spirit of Christmas.
When I see these unselfish acts at Christmas, I’m thankful that this season of peace, joy and love brings out such kindness in most everyone. However, I question our motivation if we only serve and show acts of kindness during the Christmas holidays. Is showing kindness and compassion to others only a seasonal behavior?
In most cases, the needs we choose to meet during the Christmas season exist all year long. The elderly in our nursing homes need visits and the gift of your presence 12 months out of the year. There are sick people in the hospital 365 days a year that would love the prayers, songs, cookies and visits of others. There are children in our community that need clothing, food and basic necessities during the summer, spring and fall, too. If we fail to minister to the homeless in need of shelter and food throughout the year, these members of our community may not be alive next Christmas for us to serve.
Christ spent His life showing us what it means to serve others. He took the form of a servant when He was born (Philippians 2:5-7) in the likeness of man. Jesus taught us that we serve Him by serving others (Mark 9:35). He came to serve and proved to be the ultimate servant by giving His life as a ransom for all (Mark 10:45).
It seems very appropriate that we celebrate the birthday of the greatest servant, Jesus Christ, by serving others. But let’s not limit our service to only the holiday season. Let’s stop seasonal serving and make serving others a daily behavior that flows out of our love for Christ. When we give Jesus His rightful place as Lord of our lives, we will express that devotion by serving others every day of every week, not just at Christmas.
Eric Allen is team leader of Missions Mobilization of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.