The Christmas season is a time of inspiration and joy as we soften our glance at our neighbors, reflect on the love of family and friends and await the celebration of the birth of Jesus some 2,000 years ago. As President of Lutheran World Relief, I am filled with joy at the outpouring of generosity for those who are less fortunate, who are hungry, sick, homeless or oppressed.
While at times the need in the world can feel overwhelming, I have seen what happens when people open their hearts to others in need — people who they have never met. The blessings flow in both directions.
The Bible has a lot to say about this, as I am sure you know. Here are five of the verses I find most inspiring and powerful during this season of generosity and love.
Proverbs 22:9 (NRSV) Those who are generous are blessed, for they share their bread with the poor.
Psalm 41:1 (NSRV) Happy are those who consider the poor; the Lord delivers them in the day of trouble.
Luke 12:33-34 (NRSV) Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Luke 6:38 (NRSV) Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”
My very favorite — and the one that inspires me every day in my work here at Lutheran World Relief — is:
Isaiah 58:10 (ESV) Pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted and your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom shall be as noonday.
When we are in a relationship with the Divine and generously love our neighbors, we are richly blessed, our spirit and light rise, and the gloom that seems ever present in this troubled world dims.
Wishing you many blessings this Christmas season and in the coming New Year. Thank you for sharing your blessings with others.
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