I don't talk much about religion on this blog or in my everyday life (and I don't plan on making it a central feature of this blog, although you may hear from me again on this topic), but since Christmas is approaching, I think it is appropriate to talk about it for a moment. I know many people who don't believe in Jesus as our Saviour, still celebrate Christmas, and to each their own, but for me "Jesus is the reason for the season" (I know this is a cliché, but go with it).
In church this past weekend, the sermon was about being charitable, and feeding those who are hungry, giving water to those who are thirsty, clothing the naked, treating the sick, and visiting those in prison. What the bible reading said was when you serve the vulnerable and down-trodden, you are really serving Jesus. When you choose to turn away and ignore those people who need help, you are really ignoring Jesus. It was those who served Jesus through those people that went to Heaven, and I don't need to spell out the fate of those who didn't. It is really a simple message. Maybe you believe in this version, maybe your faith has something similar, or maybe you are just someone who believes in "treat others the way you want to be treated". We are so fortunate, but what if that was to change? What would we do without our warm homes, our full cupboards, our working cars with full tanks of gas, etc.? Society is built around people helping each other, so I don't think we even need to go to the bible to figure out why we should help people, although it doesn't hurt if that's what you believe.
When you're able to take your money or your time, and apply it to helping others, you can make a difference in this world. It really isn't an inconvenience, when you think about the true challenges that people face on a daily basis.
If you're making a donation of money, gifts or your time this month for Christmas, remember to carry it forward throughout the year. You don't need to give to everyone, maybe you just pick one or two sources. For me, I like charities that work with local people - shelters, food banks, hospitals, my church. I like to contribute to the hampers that my work puts together for families in the community. I am guilty too of really only paying attention at Christmas, but I will strive to be one of the sheep, not one of the goats.