It’s the most wonderful time of the year! I’m excited; I’m hungry to celebrate and gather with my family! I know, I know it’s only November first! There’s still fifty-five days until Christmas Day, fifty-five days until we celebrate the birth of our Saviour, fifty-five days until we see our loved ones and celebrate God’s most amazing gift that He freely gives to us. I also know many of us are likely planning ahead for Christmas: making gift lists, planning the menu for the big family supper, making and sending cards, and some of you lovely women have already started to do your Christmas baking! There is a lot of excitement around Christmas, but for some of our neighbours Christmas isn’t something they are looking forward to.
In Food Banks Canada’s latest report on Hunger in Canada they note that food banks were visited 1,303,997 in March 2021 – that’s an increase of 20% since 2019. This next stat may surprise you: one-third of people accessing the food bank were children, even though children only account for approximately 19% of Canada’s population. That means there are a lot of children and adults that will be hungry at Christmas this year too.
When Jesus was asked by a scribe what is the most important commandment, Jesus simply replied, “’…you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31).
Loving your neighbour as yourself is a big task. How often do we treat ourselves to a chocolate bar at the register, a fancy coffee, a beautiful scarf, a manicure, or new book? These are all examples of how we love ourselves and care for ourselves. How often to we buy new clothes? How often do we buy groceries? How often do we buy a toy for our child, grandchild, niece, nephew, etc.? I am not trying to shame anyone who does this, these are all fine things to do. But how often do we do these things for the poor and downtrodden?
So, as you go about your Christmas planning, I encourage each and every sister in Christ to consider how you can love your neighbour as yourself. Perhaps that includes donating some Christmas supper staples like canned veggies, boxed stuffing, creamed corn, cookies, or instant potatoes. This could also include purchasing an extra toy or book to give to a community organization’s secret Santa program. Or asking your local long-term care facility if they have a secret Santa program to provide residents in need with a new sweater, blanket or socks. There are endless ways you can support and show your love for your neighbours over Christmas.
Dear Saviour, please help me to love my neighbours. Use my hands and feet to serve others. Thank you for the many blessings You so freely and richly give me. Help me to steward these gifts with a loving heart. Amen.
Your sister in Christ,
LWMLC Member Development Committee