by Don Richards

It is the Thanksgiving Season. This starts off what we refer to as the annual holiday season.

We traditionally associate a lot of fun and excitement with this season. And rightfully so, it is a time of family gatherings and reunion. It is an especially memorable time for the children.

Three thoughts come to mind as we enter this season:

First, remember to give thanks (you have more blessings than you can count), and remember to whom you are to give thanks.

Second, the best gift you have to offer to a family member (or anyone for that matter) is not material. Your best gift is highly personal. It is you! It is your time, your attention, and your love.

Third, your gifts should not all go to those you know. You have the duty to support even strangers you do not know who are in great need of your help. You never really know who that stranger might be!

First things first. Pause a lot to give thanks a lot. The Apostle Paul instructed us by his actions in every epistle he authored in the Bible, none more clear than the passage he wrote at

I Thessalonians 5:16-18:

"Rejoice evermore.

Pray without ceasing.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

Next. Give the best gift you have this Holiday season. Give yourself. Find ways to encourage others. "Let your light so shine" that others will notice and give thanks to God. Matt. 5:16. Spend time with your kids, grandkids, your mother, father and grandparents. Send them a note, a picture or give a call. Give them reason to live, and have hope, and be optimistic. Give them a reason for them to share themselves with others. Age is unimportant: either on the giving end, or the receiving end.

How many specific gifts to you remember getting as a kids? Probably very few. And how many details of special times do you remember when you spent time with a parent or friend? You can create some of those same memories that others in years past have created for you.

Finally, do not limit your giving to those you know. Give to those in need. Do it privately without seeking public recognition.

Do not "do your alms" before men to be seen of men. Do not "sound the trumpet" when you help the needy. Matt. 6:1-4. Instead, secretly provide for the poor and needy. The Lord will see what you do and He will reward you far greater than any human reward. Teach your children this lesson.

Who are you helping when you help a stranger? Do you know whether they are actually a stranger?

"I was hungry and you gave me meat; I was thirsty and you gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in." Matt. 25:35. "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Matt. 25:40.

Remember the teaching of the Apostle Paul at Hebrews 13:1:

Do not forget to entertain strangers: "for thereby some have entertained angels unaware."

Make the holidays a joyful season. In making it joyful for someone else, you will make it joyful for yourself.

To be joyful it does not take money. It takes you. The Lord is watching what you do. He will help you do it.

The Lordís angels are out there. Whether you know it or not, you might actually help one of His angels. And, whether you know it or not, you might actually be one of His angels.

Banner of Love
November 1999
Volume 67 Number 11

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