Thinking of Christmas as a Time For Service

There are many who are enkindled with dreamy devotion, and when they hear of the poverty of Christ, they are almost angry with the citizens of Bethlehem. They denounce their blindness and ingratitude, and think, if they had been there, they would have shown the Lord and his mother a more kindly service and would not have permitted them to be treated so miserably. But they do not look by their side to see how many of their fellow humans need their help, and which they ignore in their misery. Who is there upon earth that has no poor, miserable, sick, erring ones around him? Why does he not exercise his love to those? Why does he not do to them as Christ has done to him? – Martin Luther

Until I had read this thought from Martin Luther, I’m not so sure I’ve ever thought of Christmas as a time of service. Traditionally it is a time for family.

Increasingly it is a time for non-profit organization fund raising. Our phone seemed to ring constantly all afternoon yesterday (while I was interviewing a senior Vice President of a software company on my business phone). The last call came at 9:21 pm.

There are ways to support others. We support an orphanage and women’s shelter in Tijuana. I’m on the board and we support a local service – Alpha Community Center.

But Luther wasn’t talking about that. He is echoing the words of Jesus who gave us the example of the Good Samaritan.

Should we be thinking bad thoughts about the people who forced Mary to sleep in the “barn” and have her baby alone amongst the animals?

Or, should we be looking in the mirror and saying, “When have I passed by a person, a fellow human being, and done nothing to help her?”

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