Monday, December 5, 2011

Don't forget the kindness

Today as I continue on my Journey to Advent, I find myself knowing that Christmas is getting closer and closer and I am still no closer to being ready. The thought of shopping for that perfect gift has me completely overwhelmed, and not in a good way. As one friend put it, lack of time and money to make it happen is just stressing me out. I can almost see you out there nodding in agreement. Simply buying the groceries for the special meals of the season is breaking the budget!

Yet in the midst of all this chaos, I still find myself confronted by moments of God's His kindness. It's not always huge things, but it always comes at just the right time. It might be a cup of coffee from a friend, or even something as simple as a smile when a stranger holds the door open for you. It's those moments when your children actually show they care about each other instead of bickering over who gets to sit by the window. One of my personal favorites is that look that someone gets when you come into the room and it is evident they are truly glad just to see you. Those small acts of kindness are just enough to keep me going. That's what today's blog is really about...kindness.

If you happened to read yesterday's blog, you know that God is love (1 John 4:8).  That means, according to 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, that He is kind. But what does that mean? How will I know it when those moments of kindness come? How will I know it when I see Him?

Since in my class I am currently teaching my students about characterization, I decided to ask them to describe the character trait of kindness. I was quite surprised by the insight of this group of 12 and 13 year olds. In essence, they wrote this blog, and this is what they had to say.

Kindness means the person will always be there for you. 
They say words that give you courage. 
Kindness comes from the heart. 
They stand up for you. 
They love you for who you are and don't try to change you. 
Everything good they do comes from the heart. They genuinely care for you. 
The words that come out of their mouth are always caring. 
They are always thinking on the positive side. 
They will truly be your friend. 
A kind person always smiles at you and isn't selfish. 
They understand that no one is perfect and don't criticize you because you're not. 
To be kind is to forgive someone no matter what. 
To be kind is to never give up on someone. 
To be kind is to do something nice with no reward. 
It means you believe not only in yourself, but you also believe in others. 
A kind person thinks of others and would give their life for them. 
And finally, one student wrote this: Mercy and forgiveness. Greater love hath no man than this, for a man give up his life for another. 

Wow....They pretty well nailed it. God is all this and more!

Is it possible that in the middle of all the crazy hustle and bustle of Christmas, I've missed the kindness? In the struggle to get just the right gift, have I forgotten that I am to show the character of Christ to those around me? (A couple of quick video clips of people fighting over waffle makers and video games pretty much lets me know that a lot of people have forgotten the "kindness" part! I'm pretty sure pepper spraying your fellow shoppers isn't exactly the kindest action either!) And if I've forgotten the kindness, does that mean I've forgotten God?

Just for today, I want to see some kindness...I want to show some kindness. In the whirlwind of activities and responsibilities and expectations, I don't want to forget the kindness....I don't want to forget God.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

New International Version (NIV)

 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
 8 Love never fails. 

Psalm 106:7
When our ancestors were in Egypt, they gave no thought to your miracles; they did not remember your many 
kindnesses, and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea.

Isaiah 63:7
Praise and Prayer ] I will tell of the kindnesses of the LORD, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the LORD has done for us— yes, the many good things he has done for Israel, according to his compassion and many kindnesses.

Jeremiah 31:3
The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing 

Titus 3:3-5

New International Version (NIV)

 3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,

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