Written by Emily Cook of Georgina, Ontario

I walked into the Hudson’s Bay store in early September and stumbled upon their first Christmas display. That’s right: Nutcrackers, tinsel, garland – the works… in September!

It’s a well-known fact in North America that Christmas is the biggest retail event of the year. There’s pressure and expectations for what gifts you give and who you give them to. There are events to plan and hundreds of dollars to spend. And to think, it all came from three men bringing three gifts to one special baby boy.

We can have our pastors hammer it into our heads all they want in the month leading up to Christmas, but when the day comes, how much are we really thinking about Jesus Christ? If we are honest, it’s uncomfortable to stop and think about how God would really want His Son to be celebrated in this season.

Instead of trying to please God by stressing over what to get others or what we’ll get, how about this: “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God” (Hebrews 13:16).

Maybe we need to spend less time fretting over what gifts we’ll give our friends and family and more time thinking about what we can do to help others through the holiday season.

From the homeless man down the street, to the elderly woman who won’t have visitors this year, to the little boy who really hopes his family can afford a turkey; there are people all around us who need extra support around the holidays.

We just need to open our eyes and ask God to reveal how He wants us to give back this year. More than that – ask Him how He wants us to give back all year round. Can the holiday be the spark that sets us off for habits we keep for life?

Let’s choose to step out and be different. To do more with the time that we have. To be God’s light to someone who really needs it this year. To make a change.

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me…Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:35-45).