Matthew 25:35-36 – I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me a drink; I was a stranger and you received me in your homes, naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me, in prison and you visited me. (GNB)

Advent is one is my favourite times of the year, and the reason for this is the opportunity which it presents to help other people. Over the past couple of years, the Advent appeal in our congregation has taken an interesting format. The Outreach Committee assembled a group of coloured Christmas tree ornaments, each accompanied by a slip of paper attached with a paper clip. The ornaments were set out on tables, and, after the worship service, people went to the tables and sorted through the ornaments.

Last year, while I was searching through the ornaments, hoping to find some suitable for our family, a retired gentleman asked me to find an ornament with the slip of paper that read, "Buy a pot of soup." Shortly afterwards, a woman stopped by, and she wanted the ornament with the slip that read, "Knit a pair of mittens." I helped them find the ornaments that they wanted, and both of them were just as excited as I was about the appeal. We were all given a fantastic opportunity to help those less fortunate than ourselves, or to perform a service for others, whether they were shut-ins, family members, or neighbours.

Once we had fulfilled our commitment, we placed the ornament on the Christmas tree in the sanctuary. It was delightful to watch as people decorated the tree with the ornaments, and placed their gifts underneath.

I have also found that there are other opportunities through work and the schools to help others at Advent. The more I can help, the happier I feel at Advent. It doesn't matter whether we have the resources to help a little or a lot, but, if we search, God will provide us a special opportunity to help someone else at Advent.

Prayer: Loving God, we pray that You will show us how You would want us to give to and serve others during Advent. Let this be one way in which we prepare a place for the Christ child to come into our lives this year. Amen.

About the author:

Mary Jane Hanson <mjh013@sasktel.net>
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

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