On this Sunday before Christmas, I would like to reflect out to you that as I have been roving and listening these last few weeks, the social concern that seems to be on everyone’s mind is economic scarcity. There is this almost universal sense that we and the people around us do not have enough.
However, in this season defined by the exchange of gifts, I have been singularly struck by our lack of poverty. Rather than having too little, I have been feeling overwhelmed by the sheer scale of that which we have.
Here are some of the gifts I have seen which belong to the churches and individual people I have met:
Passion, education, organization, public spaces, kitchens, clean bathrooms, running, water, friendship, associations, schools, neighborhoods, roads, internet, smartphones, trained clergy, compassion, time, willingness to serve, tons of gleaned food, enough money to purchase an extra pair of socks to give away, jobs, wisdom, more volunteers than programs, financial strategies, parenting, grand parenting, joy, committees, heat, Superintendent of Schools, international student mentor, retirees from social service organizations, teachers, principals, children, farmers, organs, organists, jazz musician, entrepreneur, nurses, food pantries, warehouse space, automobiles and the ability to drive them, cooks, gardeners, UM camps, curriculum, facebook, disposable income, spirit of generosity, recyclable goods, imagination, UMVIM, expertise in a variety of professional fields, extended family relationships, scripture, studiousness, furniture, artwork, hospitality, dishes, refrigerators, coffee machines, cabinets, cupboards, 50-yr. marriages, offices, grass, yards, administrative assistants, Imagine No Malaria, hundreds of Christian hearts . . .
And these gifts are just a surface riff. I haven’t taken the time to tighten up on the specific people I have met or their unique and particular gifts, skills, talents, and goods.
I keep thinking, and maybe this is just a Christmas miracle kind of thought, that if we could just find a way to give these gifts away, to share them outward with all whom we meet, that all those social ills which seem to plague our nightmares, would find themselves met and transformed into something else altogether.