Our hopes for Christmas when we are young are centered very closely around ourselves and the gifts under the Christmas tree, but as we get older we learn to widen our circle of kindness to include strangers. Despite our own personal circumstances, there are indeed ways in which we can help others who will not be surrounded by friendly faces this Christmas. I think of those freed from the siege in Aleppo this week, of asylum seekers languishing in refugee camps, or victims of domestic abuse and grinding poverty in Geelong.
The Christmas Bowl is one such charity that asks that you might donate the cost of an extra person at your Christmas dinner to them, so that they can help many people around the world. Envelopes are available if you want to help.
Sometimes, it isn’t money that we give away, but a moment of kindness. A moment of human contact with someone who is finding this season of excessive merriment to be a trial. I and many others have been helping these past two weeks in Market Square to bring Christ back into Christmas, and my role was basically handing out flyers and spruking for particular activities. There were people who were busy, grumpy and closed to the world around them, but for each of those rebuffs, I had a similar exchange with a person who met my eyes, smiled back at me, and accepted the offer of a break or fun for a few minutes. I admired a lady’s blouse, and she was delighted to tell me all about it – apparently, I had made her day – how easy was that?
We as God’s children here on earth need to be the ones meeting the eyes, returning smiles, showing God’s love and extravagant hospitality wherever we are. If not, we are selling ourselves and God’s grace short.