How do we live out our faith? According to James (1:27) ‘Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.’ But what does that mean?

As Christmas approaches it’s easy to rattle off a familiar festive greeting and wish others ‘Happy Christmas’, but, for many, Christmas will be a difficult time of great sadness as the loss of loved ones, of livelihood or of opportunity over recent months can be magnified, just when, we assume, everyone else is having fun. At such a time we do well, as disciples of Jesus, to prayerfully consider those who may find this time of year especially hard and to reach out to them.

Our Christmas offerings this year will support two charities; ‘Open Doors’ who work among persecuted Christians across the world and ‘Christians Against Poverty’, our local centre seeking to alleviate the difficulties poverty brings. But looking after orphans, widows and others in need is not just about giving a few quid into an offering bag. How might we actively, deliberately, determinedly give of our time and practical gifts to help those for whom Christmas is hard? And in striving to meet local or international need, how might we work towards the change that we wish to see in our world?

The reality of ‘love one another’ is expressed by such actions and, in seeing how we reach out, people may recognise something extra and much more meaningful of what it means to love Jesus. I do wish you all a happy Christmas, as we celebrate the most fabulous love of God expressed in His gift of Jesus, and as we seek to share His love with those who, currently, don’t see enough love.

God bless you,

Peter