‘Twas the night before Christmas……
‘Twas the night before Christmas and in a nearby Swiss house,
Not much food or toys were present, but perhaps a lil’ mouse.
When the day of Christ’s birthday came to celebrate,
The family found a way, but compared to others, it wasn’t so great…..
Perhaps you were expecting me to again announce the Christmas Eve service on the 24th that is from 6 – 7 pm as “‘Twas the night before Christmas” but I would like to share something a friend did a couple of weeks ago which challenged my thinking of the meaning of Christmas, for those around us in our community of Zug and perhaps for those of you reading this, wherever you are.
This friend, comfortably blessed with a nice house, enough food, Christmas gifts for family, etc., did a wonderful “random act of kindness” in thinking of others who may not have so much. This friend took grocery items down to the local “Amt” (gov’t office building) of their “Dorf” (village), which means a very small town here in Switzerland. Not even sure it was the right place, my friend asked if there might be others in the “Dorf” who are in need. As most “Amts” in the local towns of Switzerland have many functions under one roof, down at that town hall was a person who accepted the grocery items and said thank you for such a thoughtful act of thinking of others. Furthermore, the office worker said, there were two families in particular that were having a very tough time right now that the town was aware of. Tanya and I, who live near this same area, were touched by this act of kindness for others, and also were awakened to the fact that there are others who are in need, RIGHT WHERE WE ARE!
On one hand, I am so excited how part of LIFT’s core DNA is that of missions, especially 3rd world, in serving and ministering to others. Each year LIFT’s missions giving has grown and recently we gave approx. 13,500 Swiss Francs to our ministry partners in India, South Africa, Belize and even helped support a local Swiss teacher serving in Sudan. This IS a wonderful gift of love and our giving to others as a mission minded church will continue into the future. But on the other hand, I too often forget about the obvious that is right in front of my eyes, those others right near by. Too often, I see Switzerland, and especially our Canton of Zug as an affluent place, even calling Switzerland a “rich country”. As half the world’s 6 billion inhabitant live on less than 3 Swiss Francs a day, it’s actually true, but still, there are folks around me in need, very much in need of basic daily food and life supplies.
I’m not trying to communicate that LIFT should change our focus. We are doing a wonderful job in being a light for Christ in our community and clearly our essence of LIFT is a church body that does take the Gospel message to those around us where we live, work and play and not just try to invite someone to church so the pastor can share the message. We’re an active body that is quite bold actually! I guess what I’m writing is that for me personally, this random act of kindness really opened up my eyes to a need to look a little closer to those around me in my community, . Those others that live nearby, those that have kids in the same schools or sports or club teams as my kids, those others that I recognize at the shopping market or town gatherings. Yes those others need the Gospel, in words from my mouth, in actions from my lifestyle and even for some in need, in anonymous random acts of kindness that only the Lord knows about and will bless as only He blesses!
There’s still a couple of days left before Christmas and perhaps the Lord is about to bless a family or someone in need through a random act of kindness near you too?
Thank You, God, for blessing us all on Christmas with your love, grace and the ultimate Christmas gift ever…..JESUS!
Jesus IS the reason for the season!
In His grip and grace,