I have a little book of George W. Truett’s Christmas sermons from 1928-1944… I don’t remember where it came from, but I keep it because I like seasonal books. His style was simple and conversational, light on Scripture but full of truth and kindness. The imagery of “re-lighting the candles of good cheer” has a poignant appeal. This passage from his 1932 Christmas sermon is as applicable today as it was then:
At this Season for accentuated emphasis upon home reunions, and upon friendships both old and new, let us worthily re-light the candles of good cheer and cooperative helpfulness, for those who are experiencing privations and restrictions which lay a heavy toll upon their homes and hearts. May we so voice our understanding sympathy and good will, as to give them new heart and hope, for all the days and duties ahead. Let us especially voice our best cheer for the little children and the aged; for the orphan and the underprivileged; for the poor and the needy; for the afflicted and the unfortunate; for the lonely and the discouraged; for the derelict and the unfriended. May we be experts in doing good to all, and in giving hurt to none. George W. Truett, D.D.
Voice Our Best Cheer
In my new book, Snow Angels, the main character is confronted with all of these people and – in spite of her initial reluctance – Lisa reaches out with both the kindness and helpfulness Dr. Truett encourages in all of us. I like his emphasis on more than just the good deeds – he also wanted us to “relight the candles of good cheer,” to “voice our understanding sympathy and good will,” and especially to “voice our best cheer.” Our object is to “give them new heart and hope.”
God Loves a Cheerful Giver
People are encouraged when we reach out to them with more than just a helping hand. We need to extend our best cheer, understanding sympathy and good will. That was harder for Lisa. She wanted to write a check instead of showing up to help, and then she wanted to “fix” people. Dr. Truett’s sermon reminds us that we are called to more than write checks, hand out food and shovel driveways.
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia
Don’t wait for Christmas! We all have that power. Smiles and kind words cost us nothing at all and are so easy to give! Can you relight a candle of good cheer for someone today?