A Season of Influence

It was the early 1930's and it was Christmas Eve. As late Christmas shoppers hurried along the street, a crippled newsboy stood on crutches offering papers to the passersby. He looked happy, and his crutches were decorated with evergreens.
One man greeted him with a cheerful smile, "My boy, you surely have the Christmas spirit." The boy replied "What's the use of looking and acting sad? Sure, I am poor and lame, but that's no reason for looking glum. I won't get presents like other boys at Christmas, but I can have fun, too. So I decorated my crutches just to make them seem special for Christmas."

I remember distinctly the Christmas that I did not get “The Six Million Dollar Man.” It was the hot toy! The toy we all just HAD TO HAVE!!! I remember my parents look of disappointment in me and I remember I did not care. Today, I do not even have that action figure. It all seems so long ago and thankfully I have grown up a lot. My parents had a lot to do with that and so did all those around me.

Today, I am on the receiving end of those same cries of things that just have to be had. Hopefully that makes you feel better, knowing that pastor's kids are no different than other kids – after all they are kids! It is what we do as a community that shapes the attitudes and ideals that our children develop. Who is it that surrounds our kids? Not just their peers but who are the families? Above all, what is the message?

When I look at the stories of Jesus' life growing up, there is not much history given to us. The physician Luke, gives us the best glimpse of Jesus' formative years. In the first two chapters of that history, Jesus is surrounded by everyday people like shepherds. He lives in the company of family and even hangs out with the most educated men of his day.

Such were the influences that surrounded Jesus. Mary and Joseph did not appear to take for granted those who might have influenced God's Son.

In a time such as we live in today, we need to hear again Jesus' words, words to strengthen faith and bring hope, words of influence reminding us things are nothing compared to a connection to God, "Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. "But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? (Luke 12:27-28, NASB)”

If we seek joy, it will elude us. If we seek to share joy, as Jesus did, we will find it. This Christmas, whether you have little or much, it makes no difference. It will be what you share that counts.

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