This is the time of the year where we count our blessings more than usual but many people still are unaware of the blessings that have been cast upon them. In fact, according to research and data, Christmas is the most hectic time of the entire year as it’s the time of the year that many people look forward to most but also, more and more people cannot wait for it to be over with. Clearly, it’s a stressful time of the year but it does not have to be.
When I was younger, I was a part of this crowd as I had the mindset that Christmas was about giving a lot of gifts and these gifts made people happy. Unfortunately, as I have learned, many of these gifts are not enjoyed the recipients as many of them are returned for something they really wanted—so much for the thought that matters—so it did not take me long to get out of the habit of trying to buy so much for others.
However, since I have joined the ministry, I have learned that the real blessing is not in the gift but rather, in the effort. The blessing is not always in giving someone something but rather, the thought of the gift which is why it saddens me to see people stress so much about the perfect gift for everyone. That’s not to say that I do not give gifts as I do but not to everyone but I do try to give the best that I have to everyone and to me, that’s more important than giving physical possessions because anyone can buy a gift and not mean anything by it but someone who tries to give their all to you, well, that’s a real blessing.
Matthew 5:16 reads “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” is a reminder that what we do should not be about how others feel or think about us but rather, what we do should be to bring glory to Christ. This same sentiment is repeated in Philippians 2:3-4, “[Let] nothing [be done] through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” In other words, our focus should not be the individual self but others.
Paul is instructing the religious leaders not to focus on greatness or act in dishonesty but as Christ instructs, to love one another. Our motives should not be wrapped in worldly ambitions such as fame or fortune and our motives should not have the wrong desires and pride should not be involved in our actions and what we do and the reason for this is simple: when these aspects are a part of what we do then love and unity will not be. In order to be a blessing, we must think about others rather than ourselves: “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luke 6:31). Furthermore, the things that we do should make others want to do well: “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:” (Hebrews 10:24).