Monday, December 5, 2011

The Other Side of Charity

Usually around this time of year I have already purchased most everything on my list.  I don't have a long tlist, but it always makes me feel good to find the perfect gift for a few special people. This year is different.  Like "Ole Mother Hubbard," the cupboard is pretty bare.

At Thanksgiving we received a wonderful dinner, directed our way by a couple here at Mt. Carmel.  Our son had no qualms about sharing with everyone about his Thanksgiving miracle.  Me, I had a harder time wrapping my mind around being on the other side of charity. I realized that I wanted to be the one doing the giving, the one in control.

Our society has a way of making you feel that if you are not successful, it is your fault. But with me, it goes deeper than that. I grew up in a faith tradition where earthly success was a sign of God's grace.  We were taught to pray the prayer of Jabez to enlarge our "territory." We were taught a Theology of Health and Wealth. Although I have fought against it, I realized that for a part of me, that theology still held sway.

This last Sunday, it was my husband's turn to light the Advent Weath. As I focused on the lighting of the candles, and prepared my heart for the coming of our blessed Saviour, I was reminded once again that Jesus did not come to earth for health and wealth. Jesus was born to die. He was homeless.  His first bed was a manger, designed to hold food for animals.

As I looked at over at the Organ, when the statutes of the Wise Men are standing, still far from the manger, I remembered that Joseph and Mary graciously accepted their gifts for the Christ Child. I determined right then that I was not going to be embarassed about needing help.  I determined I was going to be like Tiny Tim who hoped that people seeing him would remember Jesus who made the lame to walk and the blind to see.

I love my congregation and am grateful for all their help.  They remind me that God's love, and their love, is not dependent on the size of my bank account. 

Wise men and women still seek Him.

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