The Lack...and the Work Christ Helps Us to Do

December 06, 2021
A woman is about to give birth.  She is poor and has no resources.  She struggles to find a safe place to have her child.  She is dependent on the kindness of others to provide her with a safe place to rest and give birth.  Mercifully, she finds it and gives birth to a healthy baby boy. 

This year the Adult Forum Sunday School class here at Christ Lutheran in Gainesville, GA, is using the Advent Study published by ELCA World Hunger.  The first week’s study tells the story of a pregnant woman in South Sudan who has to walk miles to reach the Reconciliation Lutheran Church Primary Health Care Clinic to safely give birth to her baby boy.  The study does its intended job of making us compare this woman’s modern-day journey to that of Mary and Joseph is looking for a safe place for Jesus’ birth and raises the question of what makes up the layers of “food insecurity.” 

Most women who have given birth can’t imagine having to walk even a short distance right before delivering, let alone miles.  It made me wonder, “How far did Mary have to walk right before Jesus was born?”  We always see the image of her sitting on a donkey being led by Joseph.  I suspect that’s because it’s unimaginable that a pregnant woman would have to walk miles to a shelter to give birth.

Yet, that’s our world today.  Those multiple layers of food insecurity mentioned in the Advent study include the many faces of poverty: lack of enough food, basic shelter, clean water, medical care, and a sense of safety, just to name a few.  It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed by the need.  But there are things we can do.  

We have many opportunities to serve, both internationally and locally.  I think God puts raw images like the story of the woman in South Sudan on our radar to remind us of the challenges of international agencies like ELCA World Hunger and local agencies such as Inspiritus.  The study reminds me that harsh conditions indeed exist today and the importance of weaving today’s stories into God’s wake-up call for all of us.

We’re in the midst of that frantic period called The Holiday Season when we walk the tightrope of following secular holiday traditions and trying to live up to our commitment to make Jesus the Reason for the Season. I start out with the best of intentions but often end up down the shopping rabbit hole.  The chase for the right gift at the best price and now, with Covid, the best circumstances in which to present that perfect gift. But we do have choices.  Sometimes, we just need a reminder. 

We pray:  Father God, please don’t let me forget about Jesus this season; not even for a moment.  I want to make a difference in this world.  Thank you for the righteous work of organizations like ELCA World Hunger that can help me to help others.  Amen.

Merry Christmas.