Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas project

A friend of mine is going for another chemo treatment today, Christmas Eve. Down the street, my neighbor is dealing with the news that the cancer was not just in the tumor, but in the bladder wall, too. A dear friend is in Iowa, post-funeral for her mother. Another is in Pittsburgh—same situation.

The Christmas cards I received this year are filled with personal notes: "My mother is fighting lymphoma; I'm spending time in Nebraska with her." "My father died this year and my mother is spiraling downward. Still, we are blessed." "November: chemo starts for my brain tumor."

Some friends have taken in family members who are in trouble when no one else would. They're doing the right thing but feeling the strain. A friend at church continues to be her husband's caregiver; his diabetes has led to multiple hospitalizations in the last year. Some women at church are regular visitors to a friend who has been in and out of hospitals and rehab facilities for several years. They haven't forgotten her.

There are a lot of hurting people out there—people we know and interact with every day. Sometimes they're dealing with illness or death, sometimes with financial problems. Sometimes they are weighed down with caregiving or heavy responsibilities.

When the lawyer asked Jesus, "Who is my neighbor?" in Luke 10, he was not prepared for the answer. Everyone is our neighbor.

My challenge to myself, and to you, is to reach out to people you know are hurting in this Christmas season. Send them an email. Give them a call. Stop by for a visit. Do something nice to show you care.

In Galatians 6:2, Paul writes that when we share one another's burdens, we are fulfilling the law of Christ. What is that law? That we love one another. You can look through the whole Bible and the theme is consistent. Love one another. Let's get out there and do it. It's part of the big picture of what Christmas is all about.

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