All around us we see ads for things to buy, places to spend, reasons to give gifts. Every family has its own traditions for this Christmas season, and each new generation will develop its own special blend of traditions and ways to celebrate.

My family is spread all over Canada, and my husband’s family is spread all over the States. A few years ago, we made the decision we would provide support to worthwhile causes instead of mailing gifts hither and yon. At the time, it wasn’t a popular decision to make, at least not in my family, where if you can see the tree, there aren’t enough presents.

Each year since then, instead of getting caught in the rush to shop and mail, we have relaxed and enjoyed the season, carefully selecting which causes to send extra money to. This year we were able to send six solar-powered radios to communities in Venezuela, eight shoeboxes to Mexico, three gift packages to children with a parent in prison in this country, and extra money to a Bible School and Mission in India. The money we sent out will reach many more people than the same money spent on presents.

This is truly a season to share, not just in gifts or charitable giving, but in time, compassion, encouragement, and hope. The God we serve is mighty to save, slow to anger, quick to forgive, and has shared a most precious part of Himself with us — His Son.

As we contemplate this season and the Reason for it, please take some time to share yourself with those around you. Sometimes the best gift can be a phone call to someone you haven’t talked to in a long time, a plateful of cookies for the cranky neighbor who always shouts at your kids, a visit to a local homeless shelter to just sit and talk with the lonely and broken.

All around us, people are looking for a reason to want to go on for another day. Share your Reason for the Season with them, boldly, in love, and watch their lives change. I recently had a conversation with a lady at Walmart who had a t-shirt she was buying that said Merry Christmas on it. I commented it was nice to find shirts to buy that weren’t afraid to mention the name of Jesus. We chatted for about fifteen minutes, and I know we were both blessed to meet another believer in a world where the name of Christ is whispered.

I would love to hear from each of you as you seek ways to share your hope with others this season. If God hadn’t been willing to share His Hope with us, we would still be lost.

Merry Christmas.