Community: fellowship with others as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals; a group of people having a particular characteristic in common.
My husband posted a quote to Facebook yesterday that greatly challenged me (and will most likely do so for weeks, months and years to come).
“Where everybody thinks the same, nobody thinks very much.” – Rosaria Butterfield
Then he wrote this:
This quote haunts me. I’m most comfortable with like-minded people. It takes work to live outside that place.
I share it with you today in light of today’s devotional theme: community.
It’s easy to think that finding the right community looks a lot like finding like-minded, similar-living, non-confronting, in-full-agreement-with, kind of people. But if everything were smooth sailing and comfortable, where would challenge be? When would growth occur? How would change take place?
This particular theme is especially important during this time of year – a season that has become all about giving without wondering, spending without thinking, busy without reflecting, merriment without sincerity, planning without purpose and comfort without confrontation.
We have placed ourselves in family communities where we don’t question tradition. We have placed ourselves in church communities where we don’t call out motive. We have placed ourselves in friendship communities where we don’t rock the boat or offend. But are these the kinds of communities that bring forth challenge, growth and change? Are these the types of communities that bring the Christmas Spirit alive in all its wholeness and diversity?
Maybe a different approach to community this year is to seek out people who are vastly different than you so you can learn about the Spirit of Christmas in a vastly different, yet equally beautiful way.
I leave you now with the question Chris posed to Facebook:
How close are you to people who have vastly different views?
“Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” Philippians 2:1-4
Christmas idea: donate books, coats, blankets, and anything else you can think of to your local homeless shelter.
Christmas prayer: Father, thank you for the beautiful gift of community. When I pass people on the street, there is something so raw and real about the truth that You love each and every person just as much as You love me. They may be strangers to me in familiarity, but they are my brothers and sisters through You. Open my heart wide open to warmth and acceptance this season as I engage with those who have just as much to teach me as I have to teach them. Impress on my heart the conviction of Your words: take an interest in others, too. Amen.