We’ve all heard the calls to “unite” and “heal” following one of the most contentious presidential elections in modern history. I’m not calling marching, protesting, and posting on Facebook inappropriate, but it hasn’t been all that effective in bringing us “together,” has it?
How about we try something different; what if we decide to make this Christmas a little extra special for one particular family? What if people who voted in one of three ways decided to follow up their vote by making Christmas special for specific families?
Those who voted for Hillary Clinton and are appalled by the things Donald Trump said during the campaign and feel genuinely frightened about the future and the implications of this election can “adopt” certain families for Christmas and say, “You might feel threatened or ignored by the future government, but you’re still cared for by God’s people. We want you to feel noticed and loved.” Perhaps you can find a family that fits the demographic that you believe is most threatened or afraid.
Those who voted for Donald Trump and are tired of having their vote characterized as one of hate when they truly thought their vote would create a better country can go from the macro to the micro and say, “We’ve never been motivated by hate and in fact love everyone in this country, and we love you, and we’re demonstrating this love by helping to give you a special Christmas.”
Those who believed they couldn’t vote for either major candidate can say, “We couldn’t vote for Clinton or Trump, but we can vote for you this Christmas. Here’s a gift in Jesus’ name.”
Lisa and I have tried to be very focused this Christmas season. We know of a small ministry that provides Christmas gifts to children whose moms have recently fled domestic violence. Because of our call to bless marriages, we want to make Christmas special for those families whose marriages have broken apart due to violence. We don’t want Christmas gifts to be another casualty of divorce.
Because the economy has been so bad (we’ve just gone through the first 8 year stretch in American history when the GDP never reached 3% growth in a single year), as a pastor I’ve dealt with a lot of unemployed people and have seen the toll this takes on marriages, so we’re also giving a little something to a family hit hard by long-term unemployment.
And because Lisa and I remember the “sting” of Christmas when a commitment to ministry makes the budget extra tight, we always look for a family involved in ministry that would be blessed, just a bit, by adding to their Christmas budget.
Added to that is the work Second Baptist does through its “Angels of Light” ministry–bringing in thousands of kids and giving away thousands of gifts, meals, and clothes to those from under-privileged backgrounds. We’ll be participating in that, as well.
None of this will be done in the name of Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, or as a protest, but as an act of love in the name of Jesus Christ.
If someone cares to fault the way we voted (neither Lisa nor I have or will make our vote public because that’s the policy of the church I’m on staff with), we can have the quiet satisfaction that we did more than vote—we tried to make a real difference in several families’ Christmases. Some may question our politics, but can they question our heart for reaching the victims of domestic violence, the unemployed, ministry folks who may be underpaid, and under-privileged families from the inner city?
Faith without works is dead, but in a sense, so are votes without works. Our civic responsibility—and even more important, our Christian responsibility—doesn’t end at the ballot box. We’re called to look after the orphan and widow in their distress (James 1:27).
Instead of fighting with your relatives over Thanksgiving you can say, “How about we agree on this: let’s all adopt a family for Christmas that has been hurt by the current administration (if that’s your belief) or will likely be hurt by the future administration (if that’s your belief)” and leave it at that?
How many families do you think this blog community could reach?
Would you prayerfully consider finding one or more families that fit a demographic for whom you have a special concern this Christmas? Will you let us know how many you’ve decided to bless? You could reply, “We’ve got one,” or “We’ll reach three.” If you want it to remain anonymous, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and just say, “Put us down for five” (or whatever number you choose). We’ll provide a running count.
Wouldn’t it be special if a people who love Jesus and love families and love marriage want to support real families this Christmas with a special blessing? We’re not telling you where to give or how—and please, don’t send anything here! This should go directly to a family. It may not be (and for us often isn’t) tax-deductible, but that’s not why you’re giving. You want to celebrate Jesus’ birth by making another family’s celebration extra special.
Please, let us know what you decide. We’ll keep you updated on how many decide to join this effort. This is a small act, it’ll never be written about, but together, in a quiet way, we can do just a little bit to bring actual healing to a fractured country by pointing people back to the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
FAMILIES TO BE BLESSED: 11