When I was a child at Tomahawk Elementary School in Martin County, Kentucky there were many kids who got little to nothing for Christmas. I had classmates who I would never ask if they got anything for Christmas because I already knew the answer. Some of these kids were just glad to be in school. At school they could receive a free lunch and have access to a bathroom which they didn’t have at home. This also meant they could wash their faces and their hands which was difficult at home especially in the winter months. While most of us didn’t have much, what we did have seemed like a lot to those who had nothing.
This is where you need to stop and think. You stress about all you may not have but what do you have in comparison to those who have nothing? Do you have a place to sleep? Do you have a comfortable bed? Is your house or apartment warm and comfortable? Do you know you will have food to eat on Christmas day? Do you have a television to watch? Do you have a telephone? Do you have a few dollars in your pocket?
I’m very aware there are millions of Americans who are below the financial income poverty level. They have it tough. Our cities are filled with growing numbers of homeless populations. People are sleeping under bridges, overpasses and on riverbanks. Too many of these have met with unfortunate circumstances in life due to bad choices, addictions, unemployment, mental illness, and family issues. The list is never-ending. This doesn’t make their lives any easier. Just because there is a reason for the problems doesn’t make their burdens lighter or unnoticeable. Their reality is still harsh and painful.
Millions more immigrants are coming to America. Where will they sleep? Where will they work? Many of them will work for $8 an hour and work hard but many of them will be homeless or stranded in homeless shelters on government dependence for a long time. Would any of us want to trade places with them? I don’t think so.
Whatever darkness you are facing this Christmas is your reality. Seeing the hurts of others doesn’t make your troubles go away. However, if you can be thankful for the life you have, then maybe Christmas will take on a whole new light.
Look to the most special gift of all this Christmas – the baby in the manger. Shepherds raced to see the baby just as the angels said they would. Wise men came from the east and worshipped him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Mary and Joseph did the best they could as peasant parents of a new baby boy.
Keep the scripture of Isaiah 9:6 handy this Christmas. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Price of Peace.
May His peace comfort your heart and be your light and strength through this season and every day to come.
Dr. Glenn Mollette is a graduate of numerous schools including Georgetown College, Southern and Lexington Seminaries in Kentucky. He is the author of 12 books including Uncommon Sense. His column is published weekly in over 600 publications in all 50 states.