Christmas Opportunities

Christmas is filled with food … fun … folks … frustrations … family … and fabulous OPPORTUNITIES! My advice and encouragement is, don’t miss them. Someone once said that opportunity knocks, but it doesn’t knock the door down. This Christmas stay alert to opportunities that might come your way and ask God to give you spiritual discernment to see and know the opportunities that you need to grab.

Think about it. What would have happened if the shepherds had just yawned and gone to sleep after the angelic announcement? How sad to think about them missing life’s greatest opportunity – that of coming to see Jesus. What if the wise men, a farther distance away scanning the skies and seeing the star, had acted unwisely and not followed through? Thankfully, the story of the birth of Jesus is filled with Christmas opportunities that were seen and scooped up and are celebrated to this very day.

No doubt that during these days you will have an opportunity to write a note to someone, go to a Christmas worship service, visit a friend, share a special gift, write a check to your church, go caroling, call someone with whom you have not spoken in years to mend a broken relationship, share a meal, or put some money in the kettle at the mall. There are thousands of opportunities that may come your way and, while you may feel you can’t participate in every one of them, don’t miss the ones toward which God is directing you. Enjoy the opportunities and the blessings that will follow.

It seems like only yesterday, but it has been over forty years since my dad passed away. While through the year I may think of him often, at Christmastime I reminisce about an unusual blessing God provided for my family and me. When Shirley and I got married and before we had children, we would go and see our parents on Christmas. We had talked about once we had children we would be at home on Christmas creating our own traditions and memories, and that’s what we did. Our house would be a place of joy and merriment and memory making, and it was.

One year, however, it seemed the Lord was putting on our hearts the fact that my mother and dad were going to be celebrating Christmas alone. Though we lived hours away, we felt we needed to share Christmas with them in their home. After talking with them and each other, we decided we would do that. We piled all the stuff for Christmas in the car and put the kids in there and off we drove a day or two before Christmas to my parents’ home.

We had no real reason, it seemed, to be doing that other than we just felt it was right and the Lord wanted us to share our Christmas celebration with my parents. It was a good time. We enjoyed it. They enjoyed it. The kids enjoyed it. It was an opportunity that I am forever blessed we did not miss. As we rarely are able to know or calculate these things, it was my dad’s last Christmas with us and we were there and the memories are forever. In the early part of the next spring my dad, though still a young man, was gone from this earth and home in the Father’s house.

Looking back on that Christmas and the opportunity we took to change events a little bit so we could be with my parents, it will forever be a blessing in all my family’s lives. You and I both will probably almost unknowingly have opportunities come to us like that to speak to someone, to go a little bit out of our way to touch their lives or be blessed by their presence, and you just sense, “This is right.” It is God guiding you. Just follow Him. Watch what He does as you are captured by and maybe capture a Christmas opportunity.

For the shepherds and even for the wise men, if they had just ignored what God was doing around them we may never have heard anything about it and they could not have imagined what they missed. As God blesses your life and your family and presents to you Christmas opportunities to do something significant for Him and with Him and in your life, take advantage of what could well be for you experiences of a lifetime.

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Jim Futral

Executive Director-Treasurer