No, I wasn’t hearing things; but, as I arranged them on our mantel, they seemed to say: When you see us, think GIVING – lavish, extravagant unmerited giving. Three wooden wise men,* and one porcelain votive, decorated with St. Nicholas ** reminded me in their own way that Christmas is about giving – to God, and in His name. They seemed to ask, “So, what is Christmas costing this year . . . what is your faith costing?”
Maybe I have been a bit touchy because of a what the pastor said in a pre-advent sermon; he had repeated a shocking statistic as part of a question:
Over a fourteen year period, 2000-2014, poverty in Dallas has increased 41%. In a city of great wealth and mega-churches, how can this be? (Link to the sermon True or Phony)
Blaming the poor and shaming the wealthy wasn’t Pastor Davis’ point – nor was it James’ point, who wanted the church to see the poor in their midst and put feet on their own faith. (James 2~ The Message) And both messages succeeded and got my attention when giving gifts can be just one click away.
What I do with my money is tied to what I do with my time.
Mark Davis then defined the word extend in a three fold description that showed me how to use my resources well even in an autumn’s garden.
Extending, that is making larger, my circle of friends is a good use of time; so is extending, as in offering, hospitality, compassion, and understanding; it is not beyond my capability! Nor is extending, that is exerting myself, as an opportunity presents itself, a waste of time for someone even in an autumn’s garden.
Our mantel decorations represent real people who gave — lavishly; they all extended themselves, so that God’s church was enlarged, served, and preserved especially in times of need; these are needy times for a growing number of people! Mark Davis repeated an apt quote, especially as I write Christmas cards:
This is a sober reminder that pleasant but inactive “well-wishing” in effect mocks fellow believers in need. True faith responds to need to the extent that it is able. (Dan G. McCartney)
How able am I to let GOD extend my faith? More might be revealed if my question is an honest one.
God understands our prayers even when we can’t find the words to say them. ~Author Unknown
* The visit of the Magi – Matthew 2
I love that the wise men on your mantle, like the Wisemen of old, call us to those who do not look or speak like we do. Dave has Bryan looking for a family in W-S that all 10 Wolfes can serve in some way this Christmas. Out of our comfort zone? Yes. Worth the effort? Absolutely!
Hello dear friend!
The wise men are something from Doug’s mom we found — and the Santa votive is one Will gave me when he was oh so little.
Do you know what Christmas memory of you I have that delights me? You singing Mary Did You Know at an SPEP Christmas concert, can we say 20 years ago?
Missing those times — but happy to be alive and well in the present.!
Love to you and yours,