THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT Andy Hollifield 12-23-17
I am not starting off with scripture today because I witnessed something at Wal-Mart that you don’t see everyday and it is such a good example that it is hard to pick the right scripture for it. I came around a corner and was about to walk past a couple of young ladies and as soon as I got near them, another lady came running over to them and held out her hand and said “I saw you drop this a second ago” and handed the girl some crumpled up bills which the best I could tell was at least twenty to forty dollars. As she walked away the same direction I was going, I told her that was a really nice thing she had done and that a lot of people wouldn’t have done it. She just replied, “It’s Christmas!” I said, “Yes, but I have an idea that you are like that the other 11 months of the year too.” She said she tried to be and I said “That’s good because we have a God we will have to stand before one day and give an account of stuff like that.” She agreed and we wished each other a merry Christmas and she went down one aisle and I walked on to where I needed to go.
That little story may not seem like a big deal to some of us but it would have been if it was our money. There is no telling what kind of bind losing that money might have put that young lady in. There is also no telling how much that other lady might could have used it but it was more important to her to do the right thing. Doing the right thing should not be an occasional act and definitely not a seasonal one. It should be like it was for that lady that found the money; it was just natural to her to return it and she didn’t even have to think about it. One of my favorite bible stories that eludes to that is the story of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:34. What I saw Friday, as well as the story in Luke both exemplify what the bible teaches in Philippians 2:4 and 5. It says, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. (5) Let this same mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” Jesus didn’t spend his time self-absorbed concerned only with his own things. If he had of been that way, he would have never given his life on the cross for our sins because he did it knowing he had nothing to gain by it.
In Luke 10:24, Jesus began the story by saying a “certain man” went down to Jericho. It wasn’t just anybody but the person that God wanted to use to bring himself glory. We all know the story how that the man was left half dead by thieves. It goes on to say, in so many words, that the priest didn’t care to be bothered with it. The next one was a Levite. Levites were the tribe that the high priests were chosen from and if they weren’t in the lineage of Aaron, they served as caretakers, so to speak, in the temple. Both of these men passed by on the other side of the road after having seen this man in his helpless condition. This man who had fallen among thieves was most likely a Jew seeing as how he was traveling from Jerusalem. Fortunately for him, the next man to pass by was a Samaritan. Even though Samaritans were hated by the Jews, this man stopped and went to him instead of passing by on the other side. He bound his wounds pouring in oil and wine. Then, he even sat him on his own beast. That means that from that point on, this man had to be walking while a Jew, which probably would have hated him if he had of been conscious, was riding on his animal. As if that wasn’t enough, he paid the keeper extra to care for the man until he was able to go on his own. This definitely demonstrates; looking on the things of others.
One of my favorite songs to hear this time of years is “Conrad’s Christmas Guest.” Some younger folks may not be familiar with it but it is a story about a man who owns a shoe shop. He prays and asks the Lord to let him see him and the Lord tells him he will be by to see him on Christmas day. As the day wore own with Conrad more excited than he ever had been, there came a beggar to the door looking for something to eat. Conrad fed him and also gave him a pair of shoes from his shop because the mans were coming apart and leaking. Later, Conrad ran to the door again only to be disappointed. This time it was an elderly woman gathering wood out in the cold. Conrad invited her in to warm by the fire. After she had left, he soon received another visitor in the form of a little lost girl. Conrad walked her home but noticed that the day was coming to a close. That night as he knelt to pray, he was feeling kind of depressed because he had been sure the Lord had told him he would come for a visit. The Lord then told him that he had kept his word. He had visited in the form of all three guests he had hosted that day and found a warm welcome each time.
The bible says in Hebrews 13:2 “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Although Conrad was disappointed, he only wanted to please the Lord. When those folks came, Conrad took care of them just as he would have any other day of the year. The moral to take away from this story is the same as in Hebrews 13:2; you never know who you are helping. So as you are standing in lines and sitting in traffic and fighting the crowds, take time to look on the things of others as the bible commands, you might just entertain an angel. And even if you don’t: it is still the right thing to do. “Let this same mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus.” Christ always put the needs of others ahead of himself. Like he said in Acts 20:35; “…It is more blessed to give than to receive.” If you do that; you will find out what the Christmas spirit is all about. Jesus didn’t have a season for it and neither should we. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!