Imagine waiting in line to board an airplane and meeting Santa Claus, who asks you what you want for Christmas. You smile and tell him your wish list. When you arrive at your destination, the gifts you requested are waiting for you on the baggage carousel.
A Miracle at 34,000 Feet? No, it's an act of benevolence by WestJet, a low-cost Canadian airliner. Last Christmas, they surprised passengers on two flights in just this way. This year, they went to Nuevo Renacer in the Dominican Republic, where they brought a sleigh in which residents sat and gave Saint Nick their wishes through a video screen. The next day, the residents returned to find a party on a snowy beach and their gifts waiting. They received everything from a horse to a skateboard.
WestJet believes it is better to give than to receive, and not just at Christmas. During the year they have sent over 200 people to Nuevo Renacer to build 23 homes, a basketball court, and a school playground.
Contrast their generosity with our culture's consumerism. The typical American spends 40 percent more than he or she earns during December. As a result, one-third of bankruptcies filed in March cite overspending during the holidays.
What should we want for Christmas?
David said to God, "You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing" (Psalm 145:16). It sounds as if God will give us whatever we want. But keep reading: "He fulfills the desire of those who fear him" (v. 19). In other words, when we reverence and submit to God, we position ourselves to receive what his grace intends to give.
In a similar vein, Psalm 37:4 promises, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." It seems that if we delight in God, he will give us whatever we seek. Actually, the Hebrew phrase is better translated, "he will give you the desires your heart should have." When we align our lives with God's word and will, our hearts are molded by his Spirit and we want what our benevolent Father wants for us.
Then we become conduits of his compassion, givers with his generosity. And a jaded, hassled, overspent culture takes note. If an airline can make headlines with kindness, can't we? Mustn't we?
Five decades ago, Martin Luther King, Jr. warned: "If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century." The good news is that when we exhibit such a sacrificial spirit, our light shines in the darkness and our Lord is glorified.
What do you want for Christmas? Here's the better question: What will you give?
Publication date: December 5, 2014
For more from the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
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