We can fol­low God’s ex­am­ple

Belfast Telegraph - - CHURCHES - Canon Walter Lewis

Christ­mas is a time in the Chris­tian faith when we are prompted to think of oth­ers and to help those in need. Je­sus was born on Christ­mas Day. It was a time when God thought, not pri­mar­ily of him­self, but of the world he had cre­ated: how could he best set the world on its path to its true des­ti­na­tion?

The world in dark­ness lay. Soon a light would shine. The in­fant Je­sus would be born in a sta­ble in Beth­le­hem. He was born to save and to re­deem the world. It was an enor­mous un­der­tak­ing, even for a boy king. But it was a ven­ture of im­mense pro­por­tions for the sake of hu­mankind. With the com­ing of Je­sus, the suc­cess of the task would be guar­an­teed. Many would savour the life from God. God’s love for his cre­ation would be seen.

Just as God acted to bring life and light to the world, so you and I are called to help oth­ers. This would be em­pha­sised in the teach­ings and ex­hor­ta­tions of Je­sus through­out his pub­lic min­istry. Con­stantly, Je­sus pointed peo­ple away from him­self and to­wards oth­ers.

This was par­tic­u­larly the case when Je­sus spoke about help­ing oth­ers recorded in St Matthew, chap­ter 25. There the Son of Man comes in his glory and sits on his glo­ri­ous throne. Be­fore him are gath­ered all the nations and he sep­a­rates them one from an­other as a shep­herd sep­a­rates the sheep from the goats. He places the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.

He says to the sheep on his right hand: “Come, O blessed of my Fa­ther, in­herit the king­dom pre­pared for you from the foun­da­tion of the world; for I was hun­gry and you gave me food, thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you wel­comed me, naked and you clothed me, sick and you vis­ited me, in prison and you came to me.”

The right­eous ask, “When did we do all these things?” And the King an­swers: “As you did it to the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.”

At Christ­mas and Ad­vent, we re­mem­ber again that God loved his world so much that he sent his Son on a res­cue mis­sion 2000 years ago.

Je­sus came as God’s gift. We also re­mem­ber again that you and I are called to help all who are in need. As we do so, we will see the face of Je­sus.

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