Christmas prep time is a lot about giving and helping. It brings into focus the unselfish and caring nature of goodness - in God, in man. It is the Christ that teaches us the greatest lessons of all, unselfed love.
A brilliant way in improving the many ways we design and build for caring and helping is: Learn how to ask for help ourselves. Don't hesitate: This is truly the opposite of selfishness, self-indulgence, or sloth. It is about something else.
I don't know when it started, but it must have been about 15 years ago. I know because we talked with our children Anna-Zoë and Vincent-Immanuel, about it. It occurred to me that one of the many conclusions that can be drawn from "Love you neighbor as yourself" is a rule that goes like this: You can ask anybody for anything you would honestly give yourself - or do yourself for another person. Without hesitation, judgment or embarrassment.
This rule makes life easier. It activates your willingness to serve and support others, while it eases at the same time burdens that make daily life like a heavy load to carry. Examples run from borrowing a car, working as a baby sitter, cook for someone else, picking up someone even if its a huge detour, substituting in a workshop, changing an appointment even if its a hassle, getting up at night because someone needs you.
Just the other day a friend and I had a car full of groceries for our family and friends. I had talked this friend into joining me, because this friend hasn't left his home for more than two months. We live in a flat which is on what you call here the "bel étage" (or, as the Italian has it, the "piano nobile"), meaning the second floor in a classic building from the Imperial era. My friend currently can walk only on crutches, so I was practically alone with the task ahead. I remembered this rule - and sure enough two guys came along just I opened the door of my car, and I asked them whether they would volunteer to carry the groceries, including the mineral water, up the stairs. Without a wink they walked to the car and unloaded everything with a smile, waving good-bye as they continued their way.
I am writing this because I observe with church friends and family members that sometimes it seems difficult to accept help or ask for a favor. If this is so for you, think again. Helping and asking for help truly belong together. Why?
There is a spiritual law of reciprocity which is the outcome of the infinite law of good. It is like an ocean, and it doesn't matter at what end you walk in, you gotta be in. There is so much help out there. Tap it. It is not in people, but it is in the law of good, that is the key. Man reflects God's goodness. Period. I find that the more I see this, people love to help. They truly do. People love to give because people love to do something meaningful. It is a like a sparkling carousel, always spinning. Connecting is reflecting love - expressed in gracious giving and accepting, and we joyfully acknowledge goodness in another when we ask for help. It brings out the best in others. Isn't this a gift?
I feel that overcoming the embarrassment of asking, has freed me to understand deeper what the brotherhood of man means. And live it. And it enables me to put into practice every day a kind of connecting that can only be the outcome of one infinite God, good. Christ Jesus describes it like this, as recorded in the Gospel of Luke:
"...ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." Luke 11: 9
So you can see that good is out there, and it doesn't matter from what side you tap on it. Christ Jesus is inviting us to ask from God, and to seek God, and to knock on God's door. And how is God seen? In His/Her reflection, the spiritual idea of Truth and Life. We express Love by sharing it with others.
I found on Oprah Winfrey's Lifeclasses a short clip that illustrates the same point with different words and a slightly different angle. It will give you food for thought. In any case encourages this topic you to pray about your ability to ask for help - and your ability to help. Without hesitation, judgment or embarrassment. If this is your biggest Christmas lesson this year: So be it.
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.