CompassionNJYes I know, it is clear that Jesus was not born on December 25, and that does not mean Adventists cannot practice Compassion during the Christmas Season. Compassion must be a lifestyle that permeates every waking hour, every day of the year, including this Holiday Season. Compassion was a daily priority of Jesus, even during holidays. He was not known for staying away from the festivities of His day, He was famous for doing good during these special occasions and always (read John 5:1-15).

One of our beloved Adventist Pioneers, also one of the founders of the Adventist Movement, right here in the North American Division territory, had some interesting things to say about Christmas. Ellen White wrote:

“…If we would indulge less in feasting and merriment upon these occasions, and instead make them the means of benefiting humanity, we should better meet the mind of God…” {RH, December 11, 1879, par. 6}

This is what she did during a cold Christmas in Denison, Texas, in 1878:

“I suppose you will be interested to know how we spent Christmas. The day before Christmas, we went to town, and it was tediously cold. I suffered with cold. I never remember of its being much colder in Michigan. But Brother Moore’s people were living in a tent and were very uncomfortable. We were determined he should not live thus, and we commenced to bring about a change. We moved them into Sister Bahler’s old house, which was very open but better than a tent, for several nights. We had divided our bedding with them to keep them from suffering.”

“We then went to the city and purchased for them flour, white and graham; sugar, a bone of meat… We laid out $10 for clothing to make them comfortable, and necessary furniture to get along. I will tell you everything they had for breakfast–a few corn gems and a little beef suet fat. Not a chair; a straw bed and a comfortable laid over it. The children had an old rug and blanket laid under them. Sister Moore had no shoes, no comfortable clothing. He had no pants fit to be seen.

Christmas morning we all took breakfast together…” (14MR 318.1, 2, 3)

Do not spend the Christmas Season fighting those who celebrate it, attacking Christmas trees and Santa Claus, or trying to keep others from mentioning the word. You may not like Santa, but God has not called you to be the Grinch either. After all Jesus is the reason for the Season. Rather show Compassion to someone. That’s what Jesus would do. 

I know of people, families, and churches who are doing some of the following:

  1. Sponsoring a refugee family
  2. Preparing a banquet for families that go hungry. 
  3. Organizing a Coat Drive.
  4. Coordinating a Toy Drive for kids in need (your post office has thousands of letters that kids send to Santa, unless you do something these requests might never come true).
  5. Visiting someone who is lonely or recently lost a loved one.
  6. Inviting a homeless for Soup or Pizza at a Deli.
  7. Singing songs about Jesus birth with youth group at busy city corner.
  8. Visiting a cancer ward in a hospital.
  9. Visiting the Waiting Room at a hospital’s Emergency Room during late hours and giving out some hugs and hot chocolate.
  10.  Arranging a visit to a local jail.
  11.  Sending cookies and a great book to a solider deployed overseas.
  12.  Visiting affluent families & businesses and requesting their partnership with their Church to sponsor a family in need.
  13.  Inviting neighbors over for dessert.
  14. Inviting college students, who cannot afford to go home for the holidays, for a Christmas dinner. 
  15. Conducting a Grief Management Small Group Series for people who lost loved ones and miss them most during the holidays.

If you, your family, and your church have not planned to do anything for anyone, please take a moment, think about it, and do not let this holiday season pass without being the Eyes, Heart, Hands, and Feet of Jesus to someone who needs you. Today is also an excellent time to start planning for next year, not only for Christmas, but for every month of the year. Let’s make of 2016 a year of Compassion in our personal lives, homes, churches, and communities.

Remember, “for as much as you did it to the least of these, you did it to me” -Jesus

Pastor Jose Cortes Jr., is an Associate Ministerial Director and Leads Evangelism, Global Mission, Church Planting for the Adventist Church in North America

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