Today, I saw God on the internet. I saw God on a site called Imgur, which is full of memes and comics, pictures of pets, life stories and general internet strangeness.
The internet community of Imgur has a long standing tradition of hosting a Secret Santa. Members submit their names and are assigned someone to give a gift, just like any regular Secret Santa. What makes this event special is that the people involved have never met and don’t know each other at all. They get a screen name, an address and a list of general likes and dislikes and they go from there.
Each year around this time, people start posting pictures of their Secret Santa gifts and each year I am amazed by the thoughtfulness of strangers. People receive handmade toys for their kids, mugs from their favorite shows or movies, paintings of their beloved pets, books on their favorite subjects. They receive gifts from a complete stranger that can absolutely make their day, and possibly be the best gift they receive this Christmas.
In this, I am reminded of the reason we give gifts during this holiday season; to bring each other joy and to show people that they are loved and thought of. Each stranger on the internet who posts a picture of a gift that has brought them joy, brings me joy. It helps me to see God knowing that strangers across the world are showering each other with kindness. Through the practice of giving gifts, this community of strangers can experience the joy of sharing love with others.
As we shop, plan and pick out presents for our loved ones, be reminded of why we give gifts and experience the feeling of joy this Christmas season. I hope that for every gift given and every gift received we see the joy and love of God shine brightly.