Now by the time we were driving west on Highway 14 to Blunt it was quite dark and getting darker. And it was cold and we really would at that time have rather been home and snuggled in our warm little house. But on the way I said to Shannon, This is a good thing. it is good we took the drive. It is like visiting our family for the holidays (and actually it is -- our church family in Blunt is as close to us as anyone -- sorry for the bad grammar but you understand). So we get there and immediately we see a dear friend and his son. We went inside and talked and got caught up. Then more people we love showed up. And it was lovely, so so so lovely to see everyone.
And even though it was cold and dark and we had a two hour drive after the program in order to get home, we were so happy we went. For this time of the year (and actually any time of the year) is about relationships and sharing love and joy and fellowship with people.
I know that I know that I know in winter time many of us feel like hibernating. I do! Last week I went outside exactly twice -- yes, just twice: once to help Shannon give our horses hay and once to go to my daughter's basketball game Saturday morning. And I was happy with this. I didn't want to get Hawk out in the frigid air (and I didn't want to go out either).
But we shouldn't isolate ourselves. We need to get out with people and be a blessing to each other. Jesus tells us that where two or three are gathered in His name He is there.
I love giving gifts. I so love it (and I think my two youngest are getting more than I meant to give them because I forget I ordered things and then they come in the mail and I am surprised). It is so much fulfilling seeing people's eyes light up as they open gifts I gave them. But it isn't about the gift so much (for me) as making that light brighten in their eyes. It is about the reaction -- either laughter or joy or happiness or gratefulness (and it is so disappointing when I get a gift wrong).
And getting together with loved ones (or meeting new friends) takes effort. It takes gas. It takes time. It might take some of us physical endurance we don't have a lot of. It might take money we really can't spare. But those things are temporary. The relationships are what matter.
We are told in 2 Corinthians 5:18 that God has given us "the ministry of reconciliation."
There are so many people who need encouragement. They need a word of kindness. They need some hope. These things come through interaction with each other (and with interaction with God). And we might not know they need any of this but somehow through our time together they get what they need -- and we get what we need (and we often don't even know we need this interaction).
People need you. And you need people. People need Jesus. And you need Jesus. Make the sacrifice. Go out in the cold. Spend that gas money. And make memories.