The plight of the poor has been very much to the forefront of people’s minds during the current challenging times. It is sad that it often takes a tragedy to awaken us to the needs of the poor.. Thankfully, there have been many individuals and charitable organisations who have risen to the challenge and reached out in practical ways to ‘touch’ the lives of such people.
It is appropriate that these acts of kindness should take place at this time of the year, as they remind us of the circumstances of Christ’s birth. Mary ‘wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn’ Luke chapter 2 verse 7. The first to hear of His birth, to visit Him in the stable and to tell others of His coming were humble shepherds in the fields.
Jesus served the needy. He said that He ‘did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many’, Mark chapter 10 verse 45. On another occasion, He said, ‘I did not come to call the righteous but sinners, to repentance’, Matthew chapter 9 verse 13. Mark also records in his Gospel that ‘the common people heard Him gladly’, Mark chapter 12 verse 37.
Later on, the apostle Paul reminded Christians, who lived in the city of Corinth, ‘not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called . . . that no flesh should glory in His presence’, 1 Corinthians chapter 1 verses 26 & 29. Writing to the same Christians, Paul said, ‘For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich’, 2 Corinthians chapter 8 verse 9.
As we approach Christmas, it is particularly important that we should seek to address the physical needs of the poor in our communities. But it is also important that we should be concerned about the ‘spiritual poverty’ that surrounds us, which can only be addressed by pointing them to Christ, Who ‘became poor’.
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