Cathy could not tolerate living in her big ‘ol house one more minute. Though it looked lived in, it felt empty. Her life had changed unexpectedly. She sat at the kitchen table and stared out the window at the birds she loved and fed. She wanted to fly away.
She put her South Carolina home up for sale and eventually moved to Georgia. She ended up in a small town called Ringgold, in a house directly behind ours. My wife and I noticed her one day. She was putting up eight different bird feeders in her backyard. “She must really love birds,” my wife said with a smile.
One day I struck up a conversation with Cathy even though I could not see her. I am five foot eight and her fence is six foot. I yelled to her over the fence and she yelled back. We laughed. That’s how we met. She told me she moved from Columbia, South Carolina after her husband died.
Cathy and I eventually worked together to fix a drainage problem in our neighborhood. The rain that flows down from White Oak Mountain regularly flooded the backyards of many families whenever there was a storm.
After that project was finished I asked Gina, “Does Cathy know our full names? Does she have our phone number? What if something happens to her and she needs help?” I wrote down our contact information on an index card and walked to her house. That little effort was another step in building that relationship. Something is better than nothing. All of us have to start somewhere.
I love widows. God loves them too. In fact, He tells us in I Timothy, “Take care of any widow who has no one else to care for her.” (5:3, NLT)
For some folks, the holidays can be depressing. If you want to get your mind off of yourself this season, then do something for others. The only time of year I hear the name Emmanuel is at Christmas, which means “God with us”.
If God is with us, does that mean He is “only” with us? Are we guilty of keeping Him to ourselves? God is with us, not just you and me. We don’t keep Jesus to ourselves. Since He’s with us, we take Him to them, the lonely, the widows. There should never be two groups of people separated by our view or prejudice of us and them.
That is just one small way we can shine the light of the world to the dark world a lot of folks live in. The Christmas season has a way of isolating folks or making them feel worse about themselves. Maybe it’s the mood that old Christmas songs create. Maybe it’s because the focus always seems to be on people who are together at Christmas.
God wants to be with them, not just us. Who can you share Emmanuel with in the next five weeks during Thanksgiving and Christmas?