‘Twas the night before Christmas…
OK so it wasn’t the night before, it was Monday morning five days before Christmas when I got the message ‘contingency plans for Christmas dinner’. ‘Oh no’ I thought, ‘they can’t cancel Christmas! Where will all those people go?’
Last year my local Churches Together group hosted a Christmas meal for 46 guests. Guests were referred from adult mental health and elderly services as well as some extras who had heard about the event via the council and didn’t want to be at home alone for Christmas.
Spending the rest of Christmas all alone
There was great food, music and dancing and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. I also helped out escorting people home, walking one elderly gentleman to his door, “what will the neighbours say?” I asked as we walked arm in arm laughing. His hand was shaking as he removed his key from his pocket, I helped him open the door and then it dawned on me, he was going to be spending the rest of Christmas all alone. Thank God he had somewhere to go in the day to be with people and celebrate.
Adverse weather conditions cancel Christmas
The event was a huge success, so much so that 70 people are booked in for this year. So what’s the problem? How is it Monday morning, five days before the big event and we are thinking about cancelling?! Why? ‘Due to adverse weather conditions and prevailing ice and snow’. Organisers were worried about minibus drivers and those who were particularly frail getting from their homes to the buses. I can completely understand their concerns but ‘hello!’ I screamed inside. This is why it’s even more important that we ensure the event goes ahead. Many of the elderly and infirm guests would have already been confined for days due to the weather. Christmas time can sometimes only increase feelings of isolation, loneliness and despair, I wrote back pleading with organisers to reconsider and ensure that Christmas day goes ahead.
Thankfully I wasn’t the only one who had replied, other volunteers were eager to ensure we provided this much-needed service. Since then the snow and ice have cleared up and we are able to proceed.
Enjoying the fun and festivities at the Churches Together meal Dec 2009
Take a moment in your day to pray for those who are lonely and isolated. Please also pray for those in the caring profession and those volunteering over this Christmas period.
Grant us, Lord God, a vision of your world as your love would have it:
- a world where the weak are protected, and none go hungry or poor;
- a world where the riches of creation are shared, and everyone can enjoy them;
- a world where different races and cultures live in harmony and mutual respect;
- a world where peace is built with justice, and justice is guided by love.
Give us the inspiration and courage to build it, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Prayer from http://www.anglocatholicsocialism.org/prayers.html)
How is the Church serving the community in your area this Christmas?
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