For some people Christmas has become a time of extravagance, of seeking things for self. I’d like to think that with the troubles faced by many in the world in 2020, that Christmas can become a time of looking out for others again.
There are many ways of doing this. Maybe this Advent (starts next week) we can look for different things to do to help us prepare for the Birth of Our Saviour, maybe we could buy our gifts from different places which share the true joy of Christmas; by helping others instead of increasing dividends for shareholders.
I have put a list of suggestions based on the words of last week’s Gospel, but if you have any others please let me know and we can share them with our Community.
When I was hungry
Donate to or volunteer at the Foodbank https://www.trusselltrust.org/ Make up a Christmas hamper in association with the Foodbank (maybe we could do this with others?) visit https://www.thebesominbasingstoke.org/foodbankhampers
When I was thirsty
Use CAFOD World Gifts to donate water for a family or to donate an emergency water supply visit https://worldgifts.cafod.org.uk/collections/frontpage
When I was a stranger
Lend with Care – help people in the developing world to start their own businesses or get projects off the ground visit https://lendwithcare.org/
When I was naked
Coats4Calais initiative – have a clear out of warm clothing which can be used to help refugees who will struggle to stay warm, visit https://care4calais.org/#coats4calais for more information or email me and I can help you with local drop off points.
When I was sick
A simple phone call to those who are sick or live alone can lift their spirits, as a lot of young people are struggling with mental health issues at the moment it might be nice for them to hear from grandparents, aunts, uncles etc.
When I was in prison
Contact your local prison chaplain, they often need things like bibles, or prayer books and sometimes need volunteers to help them or visit https://www.prisonadvice.org.uk/ which is a charity to help prisoners and their families. Or support the Bible Alive bibles for prisoners initiative visit https://www.alivepublishing.co.uk/outreach/prison-outreach/
Don’t forget that being a prisoner takes many forms, some people are imprisoned by debt, loneliness or addiction, maybe this could be a time to reach out to a family member or friend who you know or suspect this could be applicable to.
I have also signed up for the Injustice Advent Calendar, which is an initiative supported by Traidcraft, where we can be given suggestions daily in the lead up to Christmas to do a small task that can make a big difference in the world. Have a look at https://traidcraftexchange.org/injustice-advent-calendar and see if it is something you can support.
By the end of this year we may well be left with a lot of regrets; of things we wanted to do but couldn’t; let’s make sure that our Advent preparation isn’t one of them!