You are here: HomeChristmasStories › The Message Of Kindness Can Light Up Your Christmas

The message of kindness can light up your Christmas

The message of kindness can light up your Christmas

Kindness can be simple. Or it can be extravagant. It can be empathetic, generous, altruistic, or simply friendly.

Parents encourage their children to be kind to their family, friends and animals. We often hear people talk of random acts of kindness, and 13 November is even nominated as World Kindness Day! Throughout the Christmas season, amid the rush of all our extra shopping, we especially appreciate the kindness of polite shop assistants and patient customers.

Kindness is part of our everyday vocabulary; it has incredible power and is a character trait we long to be known for.

Earlier this year, Helga’s Bread commissioned research into kindness. The Kindness in Australia Report (McCrindle Research, 2021) revealed Australians give 16 acts of kindness per week. But we only receive six. Where are the missing 10?

One theory is that we don’t always allow ourselves to receive kindness. We decline kind offers of help with carrying the shopping to the car. We don’t accept the offer of childminding, even though things are tough at home. We say we’re fine, instead of accepting the offer of a shoulder to cry on or a friend to share our troubles with.

This shouldn’t stop us from continuing to make those offers of kindness, but it should encourage us to accept a few more of them, allowing others to express kindness to us. It’s good to pause, enjoy the moment, and accept the kindness into our lives. To allow that kindness to warm our hearts and bring light to our days.

Jesus – a message of love and kindness

Over two thousand years ago, God showed his love and kindness to the world by sending his one and only Son as a baby. Jesus was born in Bethlehem to his earthly parents, Mary and Joseph.

Just before his birth, the Bible says a man called Zechariah prophesied of Jesus, saying, “God’s love and kindness will shine upon us like the sun that rises in the sky. On us who live in the dark shadow of death this light will shine to guide us into a life of peace” (Luke chapter 1 verses 78-79, CEV).

This prophecy means Jesus is the example and fulfilment of God’s love and kindness. He came to shine a light into the darkness and show people God’s perfect peace, joy for our lives, and hope for the future.

While Jesus lived on Earth, he showed God’s love by healing sickness, being kind to the outcasts and sharing stories about God’s plans for our lives [see the book of Mark in the Bible]. But his greatest act of love and kindness was when he took the blame for all our sins by dying on the cross, then rose back to life so we can have a relationship with God [read more about this in the story of Easter]. This is what gives us peace, joy and hope.

The source of light that led to joy for the Magi and, today, for us

Even though Jesus is the Son of God – he wasn’t born into nobility. His birth wasn’t in a palace. He wasn’t placed into a plush cradle made from gold. People were probably unkind to his earthly parents, gossiping about them because his mother was pregnant before she was married. When Jesus was due to be born his parents were travelling from their hometown to Bethlehem for a census. There were so many people in town at the time that Mary and Joseph had no guest room in which to stay. After Mary gave birth, she had to place Jesus in a feeding trough for animals (Luke chapter 2 verses 6-7, TPT). And if that wasn’t challenging enough, Mary, Joseph and Jesus soon became refugees – fleeing from an evil king who wanted to kill Jesus.

Before they left Bethlehem, the little family experienced great kindness from some foreigners. Magi (often called wise men or kings due to their status) had travelled from the East to find Jesus. They were wealthy priests or advisors who had been studying the sky and knew from a pattern in the stars that the Son of God – the King of the Jews – had been born. A source of light revealed an answer they had been looking for, so they began to follow the light. That light led to Jesus, who is often called the Light of the World because he is the way to overcome darkness in our lives (John chapter 8 verse 12, NIV).

Once the Magi reached Jesus, they were overcome with joy. In fact, one Bible translation says, “When they saw the star, they were so ecstatic that they shouted and celebrated with unrestrained joy” (Matthew chapter 2 verse 10, TPT). Following the light (the star) led them to the Light of the World (Jesus) and this gave them great joy!

Their joyful reaction matches the declaration of the angels, who announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds. The angels said, “I have come to bring you good news, the most joyous news the world has ever heard! And it is for everyone everywhere!” (Luke chapter 2 verse 10, TPT).

The Magi had been studying the stars for years and finally their search was over.

But it didn’t end there for the Magi. They recognised Jesus’ kingship and expressed honour, adoration and kindness to Jesus and his parents.

“Then they opened their treasure chests full of gifts and presented him with gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (Matthew chapter 2 verse 11, TPT). Gifts fit for a king.

The Bible doesn’t say exactly how these gifts were used throughout Jesus’ life. But to a poor family, about to become refugees, one could assume these gifts were helpful! They were worth a lot of money and would have helped with living expenses for several years.

However, giving a gift is not always about how the recipient uses it. The point of gift-giving is in the heart of the giver. We give out of love, kindness and generosity. Sometimes the handmade sweater is unworn, and the gift card goes unused – but it’s not up to us to judge how a person uses our gift once we’ve given it. Our role is in giving that gift.

God gave us Jesus as a gift out of his love and kindness because he wants us to experience deep joy and a life of peace. God gives us his love and kindness every day. It is not always known, used or appreciated, but that doesn’t stop God from giving again, and again, and again.

Learn more about the story of the first Christmas and its meaning for our lives.

Read the meaning of Christmas

How can you shine the light of Christmas kindness?

Research (cited above) shows that Australians give 16 acts of kindness every week – that’s more than twice a day. As a society, we are obviously aiming to be generous, kind and loving. Out of the goodness of our hearts, we give gifts of kindness to loved ones and strangers because we want to spread positivity, joy and peace in the world.

This Christmas, ask yourself how you can show kindness. What can you do to shine the light of Christmas kindness to people around you this year? Maybe the kindness will be unrecognised. But maybe it won’t – maybe it will brighten up someone’s entire Christmas season because of your love and generosity, and it will bring joy to their life.

Across Australia, everyday Salvos are delivering acts of kindness to people experiencing homelessness, people struggling with addictions, women and children fleeing domestic violence, young people needing help to gain a driver licence, families unable to buy Christmas food and gifts, and thousands of other people looking for support for various reasons. We do this because we are inspired by the loving kindness shown to us by God through Jesus. We are passionate about transforming Australia one life at a time, and we want to see people experience lives of joy, peace and hope.

Connect with your local Salvos this Christmas to find out more about God’s kindness or to experience kindness in action.

Find your local Salvos

The Salvation Army Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which we meet and work and pay our respect to Elders past, present and future.

We value and include people of all cultures, languages, abilities, sexual orientations, gender identities, gender expressions and intersex status. We are committed to providing programs that are fully inclusive. We are committed to the safety and wellbeing of people of all ages, particularly children.

Inclusion logo

The Salvation Army is an international movement. Our mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in his name with love and without discrimination.

13 SALVOS (13 72 58)

Gifts of $2 or more to the social work of The Salvation Army in Australia are tax deductible.Details and ABNs

Hope where it's needed most