A few years ago I was reminded of an experience I had in college.
On a mission trip in San Francisco, one of our days was to be “homeless”, utilizing free food organizations and getting around on public transportation. One objective was to have a handicap. It was my turn, and my handicap was to be blindfolded and led around the city. When that blindfold covered my eyes, my world got very dark.
Fear consumed me.
Those in my group took me by the hand and led me onto a city bus. I had to depend on them to be my eyes. Terror and insecurity set in. The ride was bumpy, and I lost my footing a few times. They showed me where to hold on, spoke words of encouragement when I was frustrated and afraid. I was unable to guide myself through that dark time.
I lost something that I had depended on. Now I had to depend on something else, someone else.
When a seat opened up, they led me to where I could rest.
Looking back, I remember the darkness, fear, and lack of ability to walk in my own strength and guide myself through the darkness.
For many, the Christmas season is like that bus ride and the pains of life bring a darkness unlike any other time of the year.
For me as a child, the scene of Christmas was exciting.
It meant presents, family time decorating the tree to Nat King Cole’s Christmas album, packages in the mail from far away relatives and staying up late watching holiday specials.
Unfortunately, as a teacher in an impoverished city, I see this joy is not the norm for many children.
Unfortunately, having grown up and ministered to many women the holiday season only brings feelings of inadequacy, loss, depression, and fear.
One of my hardest Christmases was when my husband and I were living in Wisconsin. Our family was far away and we did not have a church community to call home. My husband had to work Christmas day and the packages from relatives had not arrived. I woke up with two little ones, an empty tree and feeling all alone. It was as if Santa had forgotten to stop at my house.
During that time and for many years to come, we struggled financially. When Christmastime came around, the financial deficits in my own life spoke the lie that I had nothing to offer.
As a mom of young children, I was spent emotionally.
Eventually, I lost sight of what Christmas really meant, and every time the holiday rolled around I braced myself for the emotional roller coaster that the season took me on.
The hard parts of our stories blind us to really living through this season generously.
Our generous eyes can lead a hurting friend through pain, loss and fear that may blind them to receiving the joy of the Christmas season.
Proverbs 22:9 says, “He who has generous eyes will be blessed, for he gives bread to the poor.”
The ability to truly have generous eyes this Christmas season begins with the Christmas story. It begins with a generous God who sent His son to us.
We have a generous Savior who paid our bus fare with His own life. He has taken the wheel and invites us on a journey with Him.
But the journey isn’t meant to be traveled alone.
We need to have generous eyes to see each other through the bumpy rides.
During this Christmas season are you willing to have generous eyes to see for someone struggling? Are you willing to be someone they can trust through the darkness, to encourage through the pain?
Remember that Christmas that I spent alone? Later that day a friend invited me over. She had stockings full for me and my children. She saw I was alone. She saw I was hurting. She was a light during that dark time.
Generous eyes – a gift we could all afford to give this Christmas season.