Today, please welcome guest blogger Rachel Hanna! Rachel is a dear sister in Christ, a kindred spirit, a talented artist, and a gifted teacher. We've never actually met in person - Rachel lives in Australia, and we "met" several years ago in the comments section of a mutual friend's blog. Since that first conversation, Rachel and I have corresponded often, and I am dreaming of the day we will finally get to sit down and talk for hours over coffee. Rachel writes beautifully (it's one of her many talents) and I'm thrilled that she was willing to share her thoughts with us today!
grace and peace,
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'" - Matthew 25:40
I love listening to Christian music, especially as I prepare for Christmas! One of my favourites is a band called Newsboys who once sang “When it all comes down, everyone’s someone”.....
Ever noticed how insane the weeks leading up to Christmas are and how time suddenly becomes very valuable? I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about! Even those of us who struggle with being organised quickly develop the ability to prioritise! Especially when it comes to what events we will attend, who we will spend money on and how much. Where we may have been much more easygoing throughout the year, at Christmas we become very focused on the things and people that are most important. I know I certainly do. But in the madness, how many of us truly experience joy? Sure, on Christmas day as we gather with loved ones, go to Church and share the season with those we value there are great moments; but in the lead up?
In Matthew 25:31 – 46 Jesus tells the story of the Sheep and the Goats. He addresses the Sheep and tells them that “When I was hungry, you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me”..... and the list goes on. The Sheep are amazed! I know I would be – after all, what believer wouldn’t do that for Jesus????? But then comes the twist. They had no recollection of doing any of that for him. Jesus explained “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” It’s funny that while Jesus is the King of Kings, he wasn’t born in a palace but a barn. While He is the Prince of Peace, he didn’t feature regularly in the Judean Celebrity events pages but rubbed shoulders with lepers and prostitutes. Yes he loved his family, but his heart and passion was for those society forgot and walked over. Jesus always had time to care for those that others ignored.
In the final week before Christmas, I truly believe that we can experience incredible joy, if, as we go about our preparations we look for those we can love and bless – not because they have any special significance to us personally, but because they do to God! A kind word, helping hand, unexpected gift will no doubt bless the mother struggling to control her kids in the supermarket; the refugee family next door or the elderly man sitting alone on his park bench. The thing is, God also made sure that when we remember to care for “the least of these” we get a gift too and it brings a whole new dimension to the season. Suddenly we are not only remembering Jesus’ gift to us, we are sharing in it, and the joy that comes from living our purpose is so much greater than we could have imagined. Let’s not get too busy and focused to miss the chance to bless unexpectedly and even undeservedly! After all, to Jesus – “when it all comes down, everyone’s someone.”
- Rachel Hanna