Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength! (Nehemiah 8:10 NLT)
Remember How the Grinch Stole Christmas, one of the fondest Christmas movies there is? The Grinch was miserable, angry, bitter, and determined to make everyone around him the same. He was wrapped up in the affairs of the world and knew nothing of joy. But when the Whos in Whoville got up Christmas morning and celebrated, even though the Grinch had stolen all their gifts and festivities, he realized true joy is found only in your heart.
Right now, the stores are swamped, traffic is thick, bargains are being paraded in front of weary shoppers, money is being depleted that may be needed elsewhere, and many people will spend Christmas in a state of despair and depression. This is one holiday each year that can be filled with awe and merriment, but beleaguered with sadness and pain.
Nehemiah, through opposition and with extreme faith, enlisted the people to rebuild Jerusalem and was able to provide all that they needed. Each group of families repaired a section of the wall until it was complete. After, they celebrated with much merriment. But the people were told to give gifts to those in need so they, too, could join in. Celebration was not to be self-centered; it was to be connected with giving. When we celebrate and give to others, we are strengthened spiritually and filled with the true joy of Jesus.
This Christmas, give tangibly to someone in need—not someone you know, but someone you’d not thought of before. Be like the Grinch, who turned his heart back to the true spirit of the season.