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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Heaven’s Sparklers

By Maria Fontaine

Audio length: 6:51
Download Audio (6.2MB)

The Christmas season is a great opportunity for planting seeds in the gardens of hearts. Many people are experiencing intense struggles due to recession, war, serious illnesses, and many other difficulties. These things that are so difficult and negative can have a positive side. As people go through them, their desperation for answers can prepare the soil of their heart, which allows an opportunity for the Lord’s seeds of truth, love, and faith to sink deeper and take even stronger root.

As those seeds grow, they begin to bring change, even if at times it may barely be perceptible. Something someone says or does, or something they read or watch or listen to, can also be a catalyst for change. Your part in their process of change is to be there for them when the Lord presents you with the opportunity and to be sensitive to what Jesus shows you they need.

When people see you demonstrating compassion and caring and mercy, it gets their attention. When they see you sacrificing and doing it with sincere joy in your heart and on your face, and they know you are a Christian, the example you set has an impact on them. They know instinctively that they are seeing an example of how Jesus is.

But what if your situation doesn’t allow you much time to do things that might touch the thoughts and hearts of others? You might feel, “What’s the use of my trying to make some little contribution to changing this world this Christmas? My little bit isn’t going to make a big difference.”

I believe the Lord’s plan for reaching the lost includes everyone who sincerely wants to reflect Him and be a help to others in need. I’m certain that the sum total of all the “little” things that we may each be able to do this Christmas is going to have an important effect on this world. We may not see earthshaking changes around us, but I believe that if we’re each faithful to do what we can where He has placed us, He will cause the overall effect to be powerful.

A thousand smaller lights, each placed close to those who need to find their way, can be more valuable and effective in guiding people than a couple of large spotlights trying to flood the landscape.

No matter what our physical situation, we are never really alone or isolated. Every action we take, every person we talk to, every email we write, every gift we give, every person we help is part of a much greater effort that is in unison of purpose and spirit with all those of Christian faith. Together, what we can accomplish is monumental. Our individual parts, combined with our unity in His Spirit, make all the difference.

The most spectacular fireworks are the sum total of thousands of explosive particles, each burning in their special time and way, exhibiting the color and glow that they were created to give.

When it comes to sharing God’s love, it’s not quantity but quality that counts in God’s eyes. Whether you’re doing something that you consider big or small, it’s how you pour your heart into it that matters. This year you may have opportunities unlike any you’ve had before because you may be in a position to touch lives in ways that weren’t possible until now.

All the works that Jesus did on earth had to be extremely important for the Son of God to come down here in order to do them. But when you start examining those extremely important things that He did, you see that not all of them were what most people would call “spectacular” things in the physical. Many of the things He did—the spiritual transformations—had very little, if any, fanfare. Many of them, like His witness to Nicodemus, or forgiving the harlot’s sins, or forgiving the sins of the man with the palsy even before healing his body, or the woman at the well, weren’t outstanding in physical ways.

The more visible opportunities where He taught and healed large crowds had their time and place, such as when He fed the five thousand. But He also invested His time and attention on those singularly focused moments when He connected heart to heart and spirit to spirit with one person or a small group of people.

The Bible records several life-changing miracles that Jesus performed in people’s spirits that didn’t require a huge investment of time or finances or effort. He was just where He needed to be when the opportunity arose, and He was faithful to give the truth and love and mercy and forgiveness that lifted a broken heart or a confused mind or a lost spirit. His gift was His unconditional love that could lift them from their despair and give them hope and light and truth.

If we can follow His example by giving to those who need His care and support in whatever way He shows us, this Christmas season can be everything He wants it to be. The more we follow His example, the more our own lives will be spiritually enriched. As we do what we can to demonstrate His love to others, He will help us to better understand His plan in our own lives.

Letting Him use your life as an example of His love and care is the gift He wants the most for His birthday. It’s a gift that you can give no matter what else you’re doing. It’s the one thing that only you can give Him because it is the gift of your own willing heart, ready to do whatever you can to let others see Him in you.

Give a gift of laughter,
Give a gift of song,
Give a gift of sympathy
To last a whole life long.
Give a cheerful message,
Give a helping hand,
Tell your weary neighbor,
“Jesus understands!”
Give a newsy letter
To a far-off friend;
Give a garden flower
With the book you lend.
Wash the supper dishes,
Help to dust the room;
Give a prayer to leaven
Someone’s hour of gloom!
Give a gift of sharing,
Give a gift of hope;
Light faith’s gleaming candle
For the ones who grope
Slowly through the shadow.
Sweeten dreary days
For the lost and lonely.
Give yourself, ALWAYS.
—Margaret E. Sangster

Originally published December 2012. Republished on Anchor December 2014.
Read by Carol Andrews.

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