I began to think about my local community and the people who live in my area. How could we show them the love of Christ - the love that was so strong it carried Him through leaving the glory of heaven to be born as a baby - through life as a human, going through and experiencing everything that we go through - to His death on a cross for my sins and yours... before it raised Him from the dead giving Him ultimate victory!!
There are so many practical ways you can show love to those around you -
- Take your neighbours in some Christmas cookies and a card
- Check up on the elderly living on your street to make sure they are doing well as the weather turns colder
- Take a meal to someone in need - whether it's a new mum, someone who has fallen ill or someone who has hit hard times and is struggling to make ends meet
It was when I thought about the last option that the lightbulb 'pinged'!! One of the local churches in our town has opened the first food-bank in Northern Ireland and it is doing a great work. They even involved our boys' primary school at harvest time, when the children were invited to give in items from the list for the food-bank for their harvest donation.
I'd heard about food-banks in the US, mainly from watching programmes like 'The Biggest Loser' where they have a challenge where the contestants help in and work in one for the day. I remember one season it being a very emotional challenge for one lady who revealed that a few years previously she had been one of the families getting food out of the food-bank rather than now helping to put food in.
So my challenge for you, and my focus for our family this week, is to find out where your local food-bank is - or find out where there is a soup-kitchen, or somewhere else that is helping feed those in need this Christmas - and get involved. For us that will mean doing a special 'shop' which will go in its entirety to the food-bank, but we will also be doing a shop for a family or two that we know that need a little extra help this year.
I'm not saying this to look good - or to have you think 'what a good wee Christian she is' - but to make you think and challenge you to take a look around you this year. Take a quick walk into your kitchen and open your cupboards - and then say a prayer of thanks for all the food you find just sitting there waiting for you to decide to eat it. And now think about all those who don't have that luxury.
These are the people - living next door, or on the next street, or in the next estate - that need Christ's amazing love more than ever this Christmas. And we can share a little of His love by meeting a very practical need in their lives. So what are you going to do about it? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Keep shining xx