My Holiday Needs
Holidays seem to be all about needs, and Christmas is no exception. As most people turn inward (towards family, friends & food), its obvious that there are those who lack these things.
While holidays can feel overwhelmed with consumption, gifts, and mass-marketed crap, they're conversely about giving. Giving back to those who have helped you, giving to those with less than you, and giving to others just because. If you want to give back this holiday season here are some great ways I've discovered:
+ Covenant House Toronto serves children's needs who are homeless or who live on the street.
+ Compassion Canada works to release children from poverty around the world while strengthening local churches and helps families in 26 countries hear the gospel.
+ Samaritan's Purse aims to provide spiritual and developmental aid and relief to victims of war, disease, disaster, poverty, famine, and persecution. Specifically they work on the ground fighting Ebola in Africa, lead Operation Christmas Child, and provide aid to refugees around the world.
When I look at my own physical needs I have very little. Except perhaps the superficial ones of my Christmas list which consisted of new flannel bedsheets and the dreams of a car.
Yet this holiday season I have deep emotional and spiritual needs.
At the end of a long and busy year, I'm tired. So many things happened that I NEVER expected to. Relational conflict, deaths, God's miraculous provision, moving, new relationships, and joy. It was a full year. When I examine the day-to-day activities that fill my time, it's often spent pouring into others. What an awesome privilege I have to pour into and serve those around me in a life-giving way!
But I'm at the place now, where I need to be poured back into. To be filled. To be refreshed. To be deeply encouraged. To be rejuvenated. Not that I'm burnt out or severely lacking those things, but this holiday season I'm praying, and looking forward to experiencing those things.
+ to feel loved
+ to be cherished
+ to know I am desired
+ to experience God's love for me
Holidays are often about needs and Christmas is an obvious one. It's all about our need for God, and a restoration between him and us. The fact that God loves us so deeply and is a Promise Keeper. God promised for hundreds of years that he would send Jesus - and then he did. At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Whether that's meaningful to you or not, it's centrally what Christmas is really about. God sent Jesus to Earth because he loved me. I need to be refreshed in that truth this season. While the birth of Jesus can feel very far off and impersonal, it's also extremely close and personal. The gospel (news about Jesus and what he did), is both communal and individual.
Jesus left his home in heaven and came to Earth because he cherishes me. He desires me deeply. He loves me with an everlasting love. I need to experience that love this holiday season. To be reminded and refreshed in it. To rest in it. That is where my peace and joy will come from this year. Not from my gifts received (although a car would be nice), or even given. There's a deeper joy to be found than the one found in those things.
It's in the knowledge that we are deeply and intrinsically wanted. Yep, even you. And that's something to really celebrate.