overcoming average(?)

because it’s something the world just needs less of

dec 25, 2010

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as you might be able to tell from a lot of my recent posts, me and Christmas don’t always see eye to eye on everything.  we have sort of a strained relationship that seems to go back some years.  i don’t know why that is exactly, other than i tend to be a natural skeptic.  some (more “jolly”) people might say pessimist.

as long as i can remember i’ve always been one to question just about everything.  i had to have a reason for things to be the way they were.  i’m sure my mom remembers telling me to do things, me asking why (presenting a logical argument, mind you), then getting frustrated with her answer of “because i’m the mom.”  i’ve never had a good explanation of why Christmas traditions are what they are and why Christmas looks the way it does now.  when you’re a kid you get told that Christmas is when you celebrate the birth of Jesus.  when i was a kid, it didn’t seem to compute that this was the only birthday party when you bring an evergreen tree into your house and sing a thousand other songs that are just as cheesy as the “happy birthday” song.  it just felt, and occasionally still feels, like there are too many rituals and traditions for them all to be bound to this single event.  and if that was true, then why have so many traditions that have nothing to do with the real “reason for the season?”

last Christmas, amanda and i had the pleasure of both performing on stage for our church’s Christmas services.  it was right in the middle of our church’s big fundraising campaign to be able to finally get into a building and also during one of the worst times in the recent recession.  what our church decided to do was to literally give away money to families who may have needed it.  at the end of the service, our pastor opened it up for people to come forward and talk to a staff member and receive a cash gift of varying sizes.  you might think that people were storming the gates, but that wasn’t the case.  most were very reluctant to come forward and admit that they needed help.  it was incredible to see when they did have the courage to walk up and honestly ask for financial help.  every time a family came up was a beautiful example of people taking care of their church family.  what was just as amazing though, was when the first person came forward to put a couple twenties on the stage so that it could be passed out to someone who needed it more.  what was maybe the most incredible thing was that after four church services throughout that whole sunday, as family after family came forward to either ask for money or give more cash to be passed out later, was that our church ended up with literally thousands of dollars more than they had at the beginning of the day.

i understood what Christmas really meant last year.  the word “giving” made more sense than it ever had before.  when God gives gifts, He doesn’t do so needlessly, nor does He hold anything back.  His gift to us was not only one of the most needed things in human history, but was the most He could give.  we give gifts to each other to remind of us that.  it’s that principle that makes Christmas worth the traditions: that truly good gifts are only the beginning and can only keep becoming bigger gifts.  i watched as hundreds of people received thousands of dollars from a place where the only goal was to help those who needed it and the end result of all this giving was more, not less

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Written by matt

December 25, 2010 at 11:05 pm

Posted in decemberblogging

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