Three Ways to Show Compassion During a Covid Christmas

December 22, 2020

5 Minutes

by Mark Carter

Leadership Lesson: Christ is seen most vividly in the compassion we show to others.

ACTIVE compassion could be defined as acts of kindness and consideration done to people undergoing difficulty.

When Jesus healed a leper in Mark chapter 1, the Bible makes special note that He was “moved with compassion.” This should be our model year-round, but maybe especially during the first Christmas amid the first real pandemic in most of our lifetimes.

“A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” he said. Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” He said. “Be healed!”” (Mark 1:40-41 NLT)

Christians have been given an incredible mission to demonstrate Jesus’ compassion. This is particularly true during the holidays when Christmas festivities can amplify people’s pain or suffering rather than bring joy.  

Darnedest thing though: amid our OWN fears, busy schedules, and pressing priorities, it’s easy to trend toward self-focus, robbing us of truly experiencing Christ during Christmas. 

We are often missing numerous opportunities to minister compassion to those around us.

Three Ways to Can Show Compassion During a Covid Christmas (or any time)

1. Remember that compassion is empathetic.

To demonstrate empathy means that:

  • We enter sympathetically into one’s sorrow and pain.
  • We take their perspective.
  • We feel WITH them without racing to judge their emotions as good or bad.

Jesus allowed Himself to be emotionally moved by the discouraging circumstances of the leper. 

What about you?

  • Are you entering into people’s pain?
  • Are you really thinking about what it feels like to be them,
  • Are you under-considering some of the advantages that YOU have?
  • Are you asking for more information to better understand their pain as they see it?

Because there are many things that we can’t truly see or understand until God enlightens our hearts, the book of Proverbs tells us to cry out for an understanding heart.

Put the passion back in your weekend.

“Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding.” (Proverbs 2:2–3, NLT)

Do you need to cry out for a more understanding heart?

I know I do.

2. Remember that compassion points people to God.

When we demonstrate Spirit-filled compassion, we are imaging God to a watching world. 

“The LORD is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all His creation.” (Psalm 145:9, NLT)

I’m so glad that God absolutely FEELS for us, but I’m also grateful that He doesn’t JUST feel for us. God actively makes plans to do us good and then executes His plans. He provides for us, listens to us, encourages us, and helps us.

Let’s not worry so much about the rest of the world for a minute. Instead, let’s remember that, at the very least, compassion images God to the one being shown compassion.

In this way, compassion is a sign and a wonder that the kingdom is really among them.

And when we display compassion by doing something for another person, we are shifting the focus of Christmas back on to Jesus where it should be.

The best 'u' is in community

3. Remember that compassion touches.

We live in a generation that perpetually throws the baby out with the bathwater.

It’s true that because people have touched others in a WRONG way, at the wrong time, many of us quickly get nervous about TOUCH. And it can be super frightening and even harmful to touch people in the wrong context or without express permission.

And to be sure, a global pandemic makes this touching significantly more complicated, and I’m not suggesting we put ourselves or anyone else in danger. 

But  . . .

  • If the time is right, 
  • If everyone is in agreement from a health perspective (i.e., you KNOW no one is sick and everyone is comfortable with it), 
  • and if you CAN, 

Remember that an occasional appropriate touch can help heal some of the wounds that life has afflicted people with.

Jesus TOUCHED the leper that He was ministering to (someone rejected by society who no one else wanted to get near).

Aside from this miracle, can you imagine the deeper emotional healing that leper must have experienced as he was physically touched by another person (and JESUS, no less)?

Let’s train ourselves to ask the question: “How long has it been since this person has been touched in an appropriate way that would be meaningful to them?” 

Of course, not everyone has the same degree of comfort with physical touch, and I’m not suggesting that you go beyond what makes sense for that personality or relationship. I’m just pointing out that Jesus was a Savior that touched people because God created people to feel His touch through others.

This could look like

  • Just be a fist bump.
  • Or, maybe a side hug is more meaningful for some than a fist bump.
  • For others, a handshake is actually more loving than a hug. 
  • How about an air hug or a salute? This isn’t true TOUCH, but even psychologically, this could be helpful. The message of “I WOULD touch you” is a loving one to send. 

And it just might open the door for someone who is lost and hurting to find Christ.

If you want to experience more of Jesus this Christmas, practice compassion by reaching out to others.

Leadership Lesson: Christ is seen most vividly in the compassion we show to others.

Who can you extend compassion to this holiday season by taking action and doing something to help?

Heavenly Father,

I am so thankful that you are full of grace and compassion. I ask you to help me be more compassionate toward others. Forgive me for all the times I have stubbornly resisted helping someone who was hurting or in need because it was inconvenient or too hard. Equip me with Christ-like compassion and a willingness to respond to others’ needs when called to do so. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Three More Un-Sanctified Mindsets That Drain Our Rest (Part Two)

In this episode, Carter and David Russo finish exploring six un-sanctified mindsets that can drain our rest, and how to fix them.

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