Not At All Random
The word “random” makes me think of something that is not intentional; something that is not a conscious decision. When I think of acts of kindness that I have personally witnessed in recent weeks, I realize that they are not at all “random.” In most cases they are well-intentioned, carefully planned selfless acts that are done with no consideration for recognition or thanks. I think it is really important at this time of year to realize how much good is in our world, how many people open their hearts and pocketbooks, and how many people benefit from their love and generosity.
During the first two weeks of December, there were at least twenty five people from our church who spent from one to eight days in the Appalachian mountains of Kentucky. Some of these folks took precious vacation time off of work to share unconditional love to people they have never even met. Not to mention all of the people who gave generously of their own time and money to send toys, books and parent gifts so that others might have a wonderful Christmas. So many people sacrificed of themselves and their resources to bless others who have fallen on hard times.
Another such demonstration of love came in the form of the collection of shoeboxes that were sent to other countries via an organization called “Samaritan’s purse.” (https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/) . Each box was filled with toys, trinkets, toiletries, books and tons of love. Churches and families collect things and fill these boxes year after year in hopes of providing a special Christmas for children all over the word. Our church members were able to donate hundreds of these boxes, which were added to literally thousands from our area. The best part was that even local children could be involved in collecting things for the boxes and helping to pack them; they are learning early in life what a blessing it is to be able to help others.
A dear friend of mine and her family decided this year (and for the past few years) to give money to a family in need rather than buying large presents for each other. They do it quietly and without asking for anything in return. And in addition, the company that one of them works for collected money to donate to a family in need of medical supplies. The generosity of their co-workers was overwhelming.( I might actually go into more detail on a later blog post, but don’t want to ruin the special Christmas surprise that is awaiting the family that will benefit from their charity.)
The list is endless, and it warms my heart to realize that I could go on and on telling of acts of kindness that I have witnessed with my own eyes, in my own little corner of the world, this Christmas season. The Bible Study class providing Christmas gifts for an entire family. The couple that lent a young man their car for a month while his is being repaired. The friends who answered a plea on social media for toys, books and parent gifts by donating countless items to those in need. The monetary donations to provide formula for a growing family in Haiti, as well as provide funds for a young man to continue his education there. The gifts provided for children of parents who are currently in prison.
It wouldn’t be right to recognize all of these acts without also commending those people who work in the trenches on a daily basis to build those relationships. Without having earned the trust of those in need, most of us would never even know what we could do to help out. Organizations like Samaritan’s purse, and missionaries to Appalachia and Haiti who sacrifice on a daily basis. And people like you who open your hearts to others in order to recognize their needs and help where you can.
Goodness is all around us. People do love their neighbors, and treat them as they want to be treated. Acts of kindness happen every day, and few of them are actually random. Most are carefully planned out and include a great deal of personal sacrifice. Many go unnoticed, but all are significant in enriching the lives of those around us.
May you have a blessed and wonderful Christmas as you share your abundance with others.