Most of us think about Christmas at some time this month. Some of us all the month! It got me wondering how much of a problem Christmas can be for some families now. Here we have families struggling because of the economic situation but I find it difficult to imagine how Christmas feels to the children and families in the war-torn countries. There are children and toddlers in some places that have never known a Christmas with fancy food and presents, like we have. The war in Ukraine has been going on for nearly 2 years, the civil war in Syria for 12 years, the Israeli / Palestine conflict has been going on for decades with varying degrees of devastation. How can these countries, and others in hostilities, celebrate, and have hope for the next year? We send cards to family and friends with greetings of peace and joy at this wonderful time. For some living and trying to survive in these difficult conditions it must seem like an unachievable dream. I am not arrogant enough to suggest that I have any answers to this situation. I do know that Jesus would want us to do something. I believe that God is a God of love, mercy, and compassion, and that He cares deeply about the suffering of His people. He would want us to do a whole range of things to help. We can donate presents to those who are needy, by “shoebox” donations or other systems, nationally or locally. Here at Bassingham church we have a “Christmas Sack Appeal” to give gifts to those in need. We could donate money to some of the appeals we hear on television which often provide food, shelter, and medical equipment. But of course, not all of us have the means to donate in this way. Prayer always works well, and people can feel supported by knowing that they are being prayed for. It wouldn’t go amiss to pray that the leaders of these conflicts are given integrity and compassion in their decision making. We could send these prayers up as we attend our happy carol services.
This month’s book club choice is The Lonely Hearts Book Club by Lucy Gilmore.