Yesterday at evensong, the New Testament lesson (Luke 3:1-18) spoke of John the baptist challenging the people around to prepare for the coming of Christ. He instructs us to look after our neighbour – if we have two coats or food, we must share with those who have none. John says we should also be satisfied with what we have.
Christmas is now ten days away and as usual, there are still many practical tasks for me to do before then to prepare for Christmas: writing and sending Christmas cards and buying Christmas presents for loved ones amongst many other more minor tasks. Things that I do automatically without necessarily thinking of my neighbour and the thoughts and feelings of those who will receive these cards and gifts.
But preparing for Christmas and the birth of Christ in other ways? I have never thought of Advent as a time to give to others before. Yes, I’ve seen schemes to send Christmas presents to the children of prisoners or those in hospital, and also buying goats or some other live animal as a Christmas present to help someone in the developing world, but i’ve never thought of Advent as a specific time to focus on this.
Looking after our neighbour does involve helping others just as John the Baptist, and later Christ preaches. After all, doesn’t Christ come to help us all. I ask myself, what can I do to help those less fortunate than I for what is left of this Advent? How can I bring the love of Christ to them?