by Kimberly C. Hester
… the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Peace. Love. Joy. These words are plastered on everything from tree ornaments to holiday cards to decorative flags during the Christmas season. But these words, as well as the other six (patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) that Paul speaks of in Galatians, are not mere words but fruit the Spirit.
God has given us these gifts–these fruit of the Spirit–to nurture and nourish us. God’s gifts are found in relationships–God’s relationship with us and our relationships with those around us.
A few years ago, there was a song that was played over and over again on the radio. The song was about a young child going to a store to buy shoes for his mother, who was dying. The child did not have enough money. The customer waiting in line behind him paid the difference. Happy, the boy left the store with the shoes.
The gifts God blesses us with turn us into gift-givers as well.
If we look around our communities shortly after (sadly, even before) Thanksgiving, we see signs that point to the materialistic secular holiday disguised as Christmas. These signs point to the gifts that everyone needs or the gifts that retailers want everyone to need. These gifts, however, come and go. What was once the gift to get in December is found on yard-sale tables when spring comes.
Fruit of Spirit not seen on yard-sale tables
But the fruit of the Spirit is an eternal gift that doesn’t come and go with the seasons. How we use these gifts may change, but the fruit themselves–love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control–continue to expand as we share them with others. I have yet to see a spiritual gift on a yard sale table!
The holiday season surrounds us with materialistic and shallow gift-giving. We get caught up in the glittering lights, the holiday carols, and the desire to give everyone what they want. But the fruit of the Spirit cannot be priced, boxed, or wrapped. They are gifts we must live and share.
During the hustle and bustle of the holidays, let’s also remember that we have been given the greatest gift of all–the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ. God’s gifts to us are abundant. They are the greatest gifts we will ever receive and share.
Kimberly Conway Hester is a pastor at Christ the King Lutheran Church, Nashua, N.H. Boldcafe first published this blog as a faith reflection in December 2005.
Feature photo by Jocelyn Fuller, ELCA, of an ornament honoring her grandmother, Joy.