It’s getting to be that time of the year once again – you know it well, those special days leading up to Christmas – where things change, the culture changes, people change during this special time, this brief time suspended between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This change then dissipates in the days following Christmas, disappearing completely by New Year’s Day.
But for a few days we can be caught up in this subtle shift which carries us toward a more mindful, a more compassionate view of those around us. The invisible become visible, the needs of the needy are made known, and we mysteriously become intentional about practicing generosity.
Enter the phenomenon of the “secret Santa”, something each of us may have participated in many times over the years. What is the allure? I think it’s the secret aspect of the whole thing that draws us in. There is drama, there is mystery, there is intrigue. There is the big reveal at the end. We get to silently, secretly, shower someone with kindness and thoughtfulness and small gifts, maybe someone we don’t even know well, maybe we just drew their name in a workplace exchange or other group exchange.
Nevertheless, being a “Secret Santa” gives us the opportunity to learn and to practice the art of giving under cover, to practice the art of serving others secretly. And it does take some practice to perfect this form of serving. Consider what it says in Matthew 6:1-4,
“Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
That’s the kind of Secret Santa that I want to be, I don’t want my left hand to know what my right hand is doing. I want to serve undercover with no need for a big reveal at the end. There’s no need for others to know what I’m up to, my Heavenly Father knows (because it’s His deeds I am doing) and that’s all that matters.
Being a Secret Santa may be seasonal but being a secret servant of Christ is a job for every season. If I am in the secret service of my Heavenly Father, I am on duty everyday, (undercover, of course) performing those top secret tasks of serving others, loving others – even loving my enemies; all without blowing my cover.
which means serving in secret, without drawing attention to myself but instead turning the attention to God, so as to glorify Him.
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. . . . For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.” (1 Corinthians 10:31-33)
Jesus said in John 15:8, “This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples.”
” . . . If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” ( 1 Peter 4:11)
In Christ, I am more than a seasonal Secret Santa, I am called to secretly, silently, sacrificially serve God by serving those people He puts in my path each day. In order to maintain my cover I have to fight against my all too human inclinations of pride and self exaltation. If these take over, my cover is blown! And if God doesn’t get the glory, I have failed in my mission as a secret servant agent, in the service of my Heavenly Father.
Accepting the assignment of being a secret servant agent is not for the faint of heart. It requires dedication, daring and discipline to serve without recognition and without reward. (earthly reward, that is) such is the life of a secret servant of God . . .
may I serve with joy at the pleasure of the King!
“Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to Your name be the glory, because of Your love and faithfulness.” (Psalm 115:1)
sincerely, Grace Day