Tis’ the Season
Coffee shop visits on coffee shop visits
I guess this time of year isn’t that bad.
Despite the wretched cold….
From a Christian perspective, it is the time of waiting, preparation, and anticipation. It’s the season of Advent. Now, I am nowhere near an expert on this idea and what it fully looks like, yet, I know how the initial idea affects me. In my mind there is a consistent fight of the concept of Christmas by the mass media. I see all these wants and a ton of receiving. What I desire to see are needs and unfathomable amounts of giving. Correlating advent, we are all given hope that redemption, in its fullest form, is on its way: Christ.
We are filled with this hope and to be filled is an opportunity to pour out.
I have read/ am reading a few books lately that are challenging me beyond myself. Toxic Charity by Robert Lupton, Wrecked by Jeff Goins, and Daring Greatly by Dr. Brene Brown. The concepts found range from enabling versus empowering, how to invest in life in a fulfilling way, and what it means to be satisfied in a world of “not enough”. What I am seeing consistently throughout all readings is that life is not about me. My life is purposed beyond myself and my capabilities. As it is the holiday season, it hits home that my mind shouldn’t be focused selfishly. It can be hard with so many cool things that attract my attention. There are people in need all around us, in every concept, from physiologically to spiritually. Yet, in Wrecked I am seeing that true compassion doesn’t always make us feel good; (DUH) it’s not for us. Often we make people objects and just do things for them which ultimately hurts them, but it makes us feel good. Don’t focus on how you feel afterward, it’s not about us. We see people who need more than we can give and they open our eyes to revelations that we cannot unsee and may, and hopefully will, change the course of our lives and thought processes.
(That is a condensed-probably-confusing version of what my mind has been trying to grasp lately)
“You don’t have behave complexly to show love, extravagant love can be seen in the simplest of forms.”
Here are a few ways to make a lasting impact on someone during this season:
1) Food, food, food.
People don’t always have family, money, or whatever else to have an extravagant holiday dinner. Bring people together for fun and fellowship. Even if they do have the means necessary, come together in a way beyond your own little bubble.
2) Get out of your comfort zone.
This can look like a variety of things. In the end it’s about having perspective amidst the surrounding world. Have a conversation with the guy ringing the bell for the salvation army or talk to the person sitting next to you alone in a coffee shop. It doesn’t have to be big, keep it simple and love immensely.
3) MORE FOOD.
Partake in a pay-it-forward type venture. Whether this is at a restaurant or, you guessed it, a coffee shop, give without expectation. This can also look like buying food (or whatever need) for the person holding the cardboard sign, make a personal investment instead of throwing money at them. This can create conversation that allows them to leave with more than a few less dollars and a sense of good-doing.
4) Give more than you get.
It’s easy to get caught up in the fascination with new things during this time of year, but those things will become “old” soon enough. Invest your time in money in worthy causes and organizations. This can look like asking for less with another idea in mind of where the money can go or maybe it is going to a shelter and making community with people on Christmas.
In short, go beyond yourself this season. I’m not saying give everything up and focus solely on others; it’s okay to get gifts and new stuff and have fun. I am saying however, be willing to give in time and investment whatever that looks like. After all, we are to be hopeful as we await the coming of Christ. Take that hope and spread it; with your family, friends, people at the gym, and people at your frequently visited coffee shop.
*Perspective should be had all year long. In the simplest acts, like helping carry groceries, love extravagantly. Don’t assume someone else will make the potential difference you’ve been presented with; you are that SOMEONE.
Any questions, feel free to ask!
Keep on and keep God friends,