It’s the last week of December. And I am here to remind you all again to get your charity donations in by December 31st. Sure, part of the appeal is for tax purposes… But the main part is that it is just good to give. We all have so much and there are millions of people with huge needs — real needs, compared to the ‘inconveniences’ we experience.
I got thinking about this the other day when I was wanting to make a trip to Walmart for their Boxing Week Sale movies (I buy a few cheap, girly movies every year with the gift card we get from the office). I was going to run out and get them, and then I read these words about Jean Vanier when he founded L’Arche: Today, L’Arche is a word that inspires thousands of people all over the world… Its vision is a source of hope; its work draws praise from popes, bishops, kings, queens, and presidents. But Jean didn’t anticipate any of that when he put the L’Arche sign above the door of his first foyer. He just wanted to be poor with the poor. (13, Henri Nouwen, The Road to Daybreak – emphasis mine)
There is obviously balance to be found here. In the face of world poverty and disease, it’s pretty hard to justify any purchase. And yet I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having things. But, especially at Christmas, it’s important to be giving. And we have countless opportunities to give life-changing gifts to people who are in desperate need, if we just make the time and effort to give. Even if we don’t make a drastic life change in order to “be poor with the poor”, we should still regularly challenge ourselves in the area of giving to the poor and in need.