With Many Thanks
…by Chuck Graham
Two figures walk along an empty street. Merchants’ doors are closed. Holiday crowds have left. But from darkened alleys, the poor and homeless appear, cautiously making their way to bakers who will feed them. They do so in secret, for the churches demand that all attend their services.
An old man looks at his companion. “You preach “love one another”, then why take away the chance these poor people have for some innocent enjoyment? You close these places and they cannot eat in peace. Are your rules more important than they? This has all been done in your name.”
The companion glares at the old man. “There are some upon this earth of yours who claim to know us, who do their deeds of pride, ill-will, hatred, envy, bigotry, and selfishness in our name, but they are as strange to us…as if they had never lived. Charge such doings on themselves, not us!”
Often we rush by those who need us.
This story is adapted from one of my favorite books, A Christmas Carol . 1 Even if you are familiar with its many movie, TV, and theater versions, this conversation is probably new to you. But it paints a not-so-pretty picture of what is so easy to do.
Sometimes we do thoughtless things. Caught up with the busy-ness of life, we forget about those who need love and encouragement. It’s like having the appearance of Jesus on the outside that invites people into His love, only to have them find we have locked the doors.
But at times our actions are intentional. We focus on ourselves. We seek what we want, not what others need. We hurry to church for a glorious service, rushing past those who don’t know Him. You see…pride, ill-will, hatred, envy, bigotry, and selfishness take on many disguises.
Thankfulness connects us with God and each other.
Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the Christmas season. What a wonderful way to start–turning to our Heavenly Father and thanking Him for all He has given us and done for us. But to be truly thankful, we must use what He has given and done…by loving others.
There is always much to be thankful for. I’m thankful for you. You allow me to share my life, what’s on my heart, and my love for God, even my odd sense of humor. And thanks to those who reply. You encourage me. You let me know that I am not strange to you, as though I had never lived.
May you find peace and joy and love as you give and receive thanks this year. And now, our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name.2
Take care & be God’s,
Chuck Graham is Founder and Executive Director of Ciloa , an international ministry devoted to sharing God’s encouragement and teaching others how to “encourage one another as long as it is called Today!” He is an author, speaker, teacher, and encourager. Chuck and his wife, Beverly, live in Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA. You can learn more about Chuck and Ciloa at www.Ciloa.org .
1. Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, London, 1843, Chapman & Hall.
2. Chronicles 29:13, NKJV.
First Photo: A Christmas Carol, 1984, Entertainment Partners, Ltd., 20th Century Fox.
Second Photo: Homeless in Kathmandu, Nepal, Udey Ismail.
Third Photo: Homeless in England.
Fourth Photo: Homeless at Atlanta Union Mission, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
Fifth Photo: Catholic Charities, Las Vegas, Martin S. Fuentes, Las Vegas Review-Journal.