The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.
-Luke 4:18-19/Isaiah 61:1-2
If you listen to the radio this time of year, you're likely to hear a lot of songs about what's on a kid's Christmas wish list. There's an Ann Murray Song "Christmas Wishes," and "My Grownup Christmas List," was first made a hit by Amy Grant. List-making, especially the kind from those latter two songs can be a spiritual practice. To prioritize and ponder and articulate can be deeply profound. Mary did it upon receiving the news of a baby and on receiving that baby.
At this time of year, a worthwhile spiritual practice is to make a list. What would Jesus place on his list? A read of the Christmas story and his ministry is a great place to start, and the prophets who foretell his coming. After all, if Jesus came to dwell among us, his story and the needs of his family and his people is certainly a good beginning.
His story begins with an unwed pregnant mother. What have we done to help mothers in crisis? His mother and father must travel for a census from an oppressive government. What have we done to help young families in need? What have we done to stand up to oppression? His family, through no fault of their own, find themselves without housing or a safe place to deliver a baby. What have we done to provide housing to those in desperate need? What have we done to make healthcare accessible to all of the most vulnerable? Then his family has to flee to another country to escape genocide. What have we done to welcome those fleeing violence to protect their children?
When you make your Christmas lists for wants and needs, I invite you to invest your time and money in the love and compassion we can show to the least of these. Pay attention to the news and to ways JCPC is reaching out, and join us at the Alternative Christmas Market November 25 and December 2 and 9 and our Mission Fair in January. Make your list with Christ's story as your shopping guide.