We believe that if we rescue one girl from human trafficking, we will be opening up a spot for other girls to be victimized. So, slowly, we are developing relationships with brothel owners and offering employment if they shut down their business as usual and reopen their business as a handicraft co-op.
Rather than a pat-myself-on-the-back moment, this was a stoop-lower opportunity. I was acutely aware that feeding Mary or offering someone dignity through a smile or learning their name or advocating for the homeless is really not about charity or me changing the world as much as it is about obedience to the gospel.
What if we resisted the urge to pigeonhole people and we didn’t use our go-to characters, our familiar illustrations, our well-worn paths? What if we did look at David’s parenting skills, not with an eye for what-not-to-do, but for what to do. Or Ruth and how she used her sexuality in such a way it ended up in the Bible, sanctioned by God. It’s easy to put certain people on pedestals and knock others off. Caricatures are cheap; really understanding someone’s character takes effort.
When I hear the term “gratitude,” it sounds so simplistic and underwhelming. But how often is it that the simple practices and professions in life ultimately become the most personal and significant in leading to real life change. Practicing gratitude–as simple as it sounds–is a revolutionary way of thinking, a decision to turn our backs on the lies that keep us harboring bitterness and face the truth: that we are meant to live with joy.
There I was a few weeks ago, sitting on a bare wooden floor in a humble Thai hut, when God hit the reset button on my perspective of hospitality. This shift was not the kind of hospitality that rings of Martha Stewart or what Pinterest dreams are made of; it was true biblical hospitality.
The great lie at Christmas is that one needs to do all the “things” to make it meaningful and purposeful. What is it exactly that is ESSENTIAL to Christmas? In Isaiah 30:15 we hear, “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” The only essential at Christmas is an invitation to experience our Lord’s presence; no more or less.
But what if this Christmas, we chose a different way?