An old Merle Haggard song titled "If We Make It Through December" tells the story of a man laid off from his factory job with no money to buy Christmas gifts for his little girl. The holiday season is supposed to be a happy time of year, but for some it is a time of discouragement and loneliness.
What can we do when we get the holiday blues? I suggest that one of the ways to overcome our own problems is to focus on the needs of others. A little bit of encouragement can go a long way in helping brighten the day for those experiencing the blues.
I read about a man named Joseph in the book of Acts chapter 4 verses 36 and 37 who the apostles called Barnabas. His name means "son of encouragement." These verses tell us that he sold a piece of property and donated the money to help others in need. Not only was he an encourager but was generous as well.
Later in Acts chapter 9 verses 26 and 27 we read that the disciples were afraid of Saul but Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. Saul, later called Paul, had formerly been trying to kill the believers, but Barnabas defended him as a man who had been transformed by Christ.
All around us are people longing to be encouraged. A timely word, a phone call, or a prayer can be just the thing that a person needs. The generosity and support of Barnabas demonstrate what it means to be a person of encouragement.
You can plan to be a blessing to others by an intentional act of encouragement. Visit a hospital, nursing facility, or a prison to show Christian love and kindness.