JOY to the World.

Goodwill evenings, charity fundraising, Nativity plays, Christmas tree festivals, free lunches, carol singing - what an abundance of giving.

This is the time of year when we are particularly reminded of people who have greater needs, when having little stands out amongst the lights and bustle of our festive preparations.

God too gave, He gave us His Son called Immanuel (God with Us), Jesus the Christ, born in a lowly setting to common people, this is God’s gift to us all. It is this great gift that we are celebrating at this time of wonder and mystery, a time of renewal, new life and reflection.

As with all gifts one has to decide what to do with it and now is the time to make that decision, to start anew, invigorated, inspired, and refreshed.

What will you do with your gift what action will you take?

Despite all the giving and all the money that is in evidence there are tragically increasing numbers of men, women and children who will be struggling this Christmas, the many people effected by homelessness, lack of regular food, lack of money for essentials, clothes etc.

In addition there are many for whom Christmas is just part of the unremitting struggle with addictions, mental health problems, the consequences of past experiences and loneliness.

For people with needs we have the opportunity to use our gifts, we can make a difference by giving our time, resources and our prayer and by supporting the many organisations that are helping those in our communities.

At this time when we celebrate the birth of Christ in our own ways it is important to remind ourselves that He came for all people, no conditions attached, just as we are, to give each one of us the chance to live like Him.

Make this Christmas one to remember and look back on with more than warm glowing family memories, make this Christmas the one that you decided to take action for everyone in this world who is lonely, hungry, and vulnerable, has no fixed abode, and live in fear.

Happy Christmas to one and all.