Scripture Reading: Isaiah 40:1-11
See, the Lord God comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
He will feed his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms,
and carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead the mother sheep.
Isaiah reminds us whose we are. Almighty God protects God’s children, nurtures, and feeds us. The Lord expects us to partner with God in assuring that all children know God’s love and care. Advent is a time when we remember the darkness of life as we await the coming of the Light of the World. My church has a long Advent tradition of collecting warm hats, mittens, gloves, and scarves for those left out in the cold. We pray that each gift does share with each recipient our love as well as a bit of relief from the elements.
The symbolism of the act may be just as important for those of us with enough resources to provide these small gifts. They remind us that in God’s world everyone is to have enough: shelter, clothing, food, medical care, and love. We are responsible for doing the justice to make enough for all possible. Nigerian author Chinua Achebe states it best, While we do our good works let us not forget that the real solution lies in a world in which charity will have become unnecessary. His words may sound familiar as I have quoted them before and I will continue to quote him until a world that needs no charity exists.
This year we needed more scarves for the ones we targeted to serve. The store where I was shopping did not have enough and referred me to another of their stores in a part of town nearer the inner city. On my way into the store, I walked past one man talking to someone only he could see and another seated on the sidewalk with his back to the wall of the building one hand grasping his grocery cart full of all of his possessions. I experienced first hand the humanity in need of warm clothing, but more importantly in need of justice.
Prayer: Holy One, let us not forget that the real solution lies in a world in which charity will have become unnecessary. Let it be so.