“If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you.” –Leviticus 25:35 (NIV)
In certain countries within the British Commonwealth, the tradition of Boxing Day remains strong. Falling on the day after Christmas, it is presently known as a day where people throng department stores in order to take advantage of great sales that only come once a year However, this was far from its intended purpose. Instead of acquiring more possessions, the day was focused on addressing the needs of the poor. Families would make gift boxes and pack food, toys, and clothes in order that they may be distributed to those who did not have the luxury of obtaining these things. Alms boxes would be placed in churches where congregants would donate money to be divided amongst the needy in their midst. Wealthy landlords would give their household servants bonuses, gifts, and the opportunity to visit their families as an act of gratitude for their hard work.
It is tempting to become self-absorbed during the Christmas season. With all the celebrations, gifts, and presents, it is easy to simply bask in the blessings of possessing material wealth. In all these things however, God has called His children to consider the poor. To aid the destitute is mandated in Scripture and is close to the heart of God for He has created all in His image. But we are mistaken if we think we can fulfil this mandate on our own strength and capabilities. Human tendency is to be selfish and to seek ways to glorify the self, even in our charity. Only when we have allowed the Spirit of Christ to conduct His redemptive work in our lives and yield our selfishness to Him, will He fill us with His selfless love. When we do this, we will be fulfilling His mandate not because of any counterfeit benevolence of our own, but solely by the love and compassion of Christ overflowing from within us. By allowing our hearts to be moulded by Him, our ears will be open to His voice and He will move us to act with genuine concern towards those around us; bearing witness to who He is and what He intends to do for all of humanity.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.