By Joani Schultz
Kim meant well.
She got an email from me. Supposedly.
It asked her to personally help me out. (Kim’s a kind person.)
In essence, multiple emails said, “Confirm ASAP. Order gift cards to give a client I’m meeting with right now.” (Earlier Kim had seen me meeting with an out-of-town guest, so the request seemed legit.)
Kim did think it was odd that I hadn’t asked my assistant, Kerrie. But Kim’s servant-hearted self kicked in. She even enlisted help from nearby co-workers to drop what they were doing to assist me in my generosity.
Soon Kim stopped by to assure me she’d received my email and was working on my gift card request.
“What request?” I asked. Puzzled.
“You asked me to purchase some gift cards for you.”
“Uh, no. I didn’t ask for any gift cards.”
That scam email preyed on Kim’s kindness. Mine, too.
Thankfully, in time, we figured out we’d been had.
So what did this scam teach me about Christmas?
In her haste, Kim really wanted to do good. She wanted to be kind and giving. That scam email used words like, “How soon can you do this? It’s urgent! I expect a prompt reply.” She fell for the lie.
How often do we get lured into the urgency of the season? We want to do the right thing at Christmas. Our hearts for Jesus are in the right place. But schedules get crazy. Life speeds up. We’re overwhelmed. And we believe the lie.
Take a closer look.
Once Kim paused to examine the email, she discovered a number of flukes.
- The email used my name and manipulated our relationship.
Christmas is all about using Christ’s name and manipulating his birthday celebration into something it’s not. But Christ is in the name. Look closer.
- On closer examination, the email address wasn’t mine at all.
All the twinkling lights, glittery packages, and major shopping sprees that lure us to happiness really don’t bring the joy they promise.
- The wording didn’t even sound like me.
I hope I don’t sound that bossy or have that many typos. And my sign-off? “Regards.” Anyone who knows me, knows I sign off, “Joy!” Never Regards. (In fact, I’d probably misspell it!) 😊
God begs us not to be fooled by imitations of love. He knows we move too fast and easily forget. Jesus is the real deal— and wants us to take a closer look.
Embrace the truth.
Look beneath the surface. Kim knows me. She knows I love to give gifts, but my heart isn’t bossy or demanding like the scam email made me sound.
So this Christmas, seek the truth, “The Way, the Truth, and the Life.” The truth is God came to us in Jesus. It’s a mystery, yet he’s really not that complicated and will do anything to show his desire to be in our lives.
So if you find yourself heading toward a palace maternity ward instead of a manger, turn around, embrace the mystery and miracle of God incarnate.
My Christmas gift for you! (Really, it’s not a scam!)
Enjoy this Christmas caroling kit!
Here’s the story of our treasured musical tradition:
We began a Christmas caroling tradition years ago. Whenever we host our Group Ambassadors, we invite them to our home. This year, over 70 incredible ministry friends who speak and train on our behalf packed into our home to sing Christmas carols.
True to our tradition, Joe presses play and the caroling begins! All of us sing our hearts out, worshipping Jesus at his birth. It’s recording-worthy! Harmony and all!
This year someone asked how they could re-create this caroling extravaganza. Well, nearly three decades ago (yes, the cassette-tape era) Group produced a Christmas Caroling kit with lyrics sheets and cassette tape as accompaniment to make caroling extremely fun and easy. We no longer sell it, but just for you our team blew the dust off, and digitized it. (Thanks, Peggy, for the idea.)
I want you to enjoy it now, too.