Advent 2021

Being a Neighbour to those in Need

Beth Burras,

Even though over 2000 years has passed since the word became flesh, it is still true today that Jesus is with us in our neighbourhoods. What is God saying to us about our own blocks, streets and estates this Christmas?

At this time of year, in this part of the world, so much of our festive activity takes place in the home. “The weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful.

We gather for meals around tables, we have parties with mince pies and mulled wine, we comb through the Radio Times and circle all the good telly that we want to watch. And if we do go outside, whether it is for carol singing, Christmas markets or wintery walks, we look forward to going somewhere warm afterwards for a hot drink, a fire, and a twinkly Christmas tree.

For many people, the idea of ‘home’ is a difficult one, especially in winter and at Christmas. For those who are homeless, whether they are rough sleepers or they are in temporary housing, they don’t have the place of security, warmth and rest that many of us take for granted

When we remember and celebrate God becoming human and coming to live amongst us, it can be easy to forget that Jesus was born in temporary accommodation. The Bible tells us that when Jesus was born, Mary “wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” (Luke 2:7)  How shocking that there was no room available for the Son of God.  There are some people in our cities and towns who struggle to find a home, a room, somewhere to lay their head.

In the Christmas carol Joy to The World we find the line: “Let every heart prepare him room.”  Perhaps as you take the time today to prepare room in your heart for Emmanuel, God with us, you could also reflect on how you can prepare room in your heart for those without a home this Christmas. This might look like a prayer, a kind word, some warm food, a donation to a charity or shelter; whatever it may be, let us be neighbourly people who make room for others this advent.

Bible Verse: 1 John 1:14 (MSG)

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