Saturday, December 10, 2011
We all want to see the happy faces of the recipients when their presents are opened, so we can feel the love and gratitude. Sadly, it just doesn't turn out that way for many, many givers. People serving food at soup kitchens sometimes hear thank you's, but more often than not, it's just not the case. Presents sent from miles away are sometimes captured on film, but I've done enough insincere smiling over the years when the camera was on to know that that's not a good indicator either. We hope that what we give is gratefully and happily accepted, but we never really know. When I worked suicide hot lines in L.A., we never knew if we saved a life or not. I worked with the Arkansas Youth Suicide Prevention Commission for years (even producing a film played in several states), but we never knew if we were saving lives or not. I was one of many who helped found the NWA Crisis Center and served for years on the board. We knew how many calls we got, but we never knew if we saved even one life. I was interviewed on a local TV show and was asked why we did it. My answer was because we know the hurt, pain, and sorrow were out there and that thousands did indeed commit suicide, many of them teens, so how could we not try to do something. I think that's really the true meaning of Christmas, Christ came so that we would try. He never asked us to succeed, never put any quotas on what we did, just asked us to try to love each other and keep each other from harm. Isn't that enough? A true gift is one that you give and forget about it because there are so many more to give. I don't know what will happen with the goats we give, but that is not our calling. Our calling is to try to save souls and lives whenever and wherever we can. That's our promise to Christ this Christmas--we will keep on trying in His name to keep His commandments. May every Christmas gift, decoration, carol, and church service remind you to do the same. We have quite "freely received" so we must "freely give".