In the second episode of our series An Advent Story, we learn about Jen’s family’s Christmas tradition of volunteering wholeheartedly with those living on the margins on Christmas Day. Serving Christmas lunch and lending a listening ear to those who needed it profoundly changed the way they celebrated Christmas.
Episode 2: Loving Wholeheartedly – is available here:
- An Advent Story - Episode 2: Loving Wholeheartedly - Transcript
An Advent Story - Episode 2: Loving Wholeheartedly - TranscriptAuthor: Archdiocese of Brisbane
There was a place in Brunswick, in Melbourne, there was a church. And they would host, I think, a huge lunch and it was all donated. You know, every part it was donated from various businesses around Melbourne. And they would play host to a few hundred people each year. The majority were homeless and there was two people, two that stand out for me, one was one man who was a homeless gentleman and brought everything with him in a trolley. And the other was a family which was a father and his two sons who were both neurodivergent. And had been facing significant challenges. They were there one year because the mother had passed away and they didn’t know what to do because she did everything. So they reached out to the church who said, come and eat lunch with us.
When a homeless person comes to the centre, you can’t just say, hey, yes, come on, we’ll sit you here. That doesn’t work, you’ve got to find them a place. And it always has to be at the top or the bottom end of the table, because whatever belongings they’ve got have to stay with them. So you’re volunteering in a number of ways. You are either waitressing, so you’re going to go around and make sure everyone’s got what they want, carrying plates of food backwards and forwards and then washing up afterwards. Or you’re asked to be a listener. And then you just sit with someone and you talk to them and you ask them questions about their life and you hear their story. For me, I did both of those over a ten year span and I took my children as well because I wanted them to see what it was like to wake up on Christmas morning and not have Santa come and visited you the night before. And my children didn’t understand that that could happen. So I brought them out to you know, introduce them to what life was like somewhere else. Those were the best Christmases, the best Christmas Days I think I ever had. And I think that my children had as well.
Just like in Jen’s story, in Luke 7:36-50 we see a woman encountering Jesus and being profoundly impacted. A Pharisee invited Jesus to his house for a meal. A woman of ill repute from the town heard about this so she took a jar of perfume, and went to the house and knelt at Jesus’ feet. She was moved by her encounter with Jesus and asked for his forgiveness. She washed his feet with her tears, used her hair to dry them, and then covered them with the perfume. This woman who encountered Jesus wanted to do everything she could to serve him and make him feel more comfortable. She was moved to do a great act of service for him, to show him her love. Jen tells the story of how she and her family chose to be the face of Christ by serving others at Christmas. Encountering Christ calls us to serve those we meet, especially the poor and marginalised. How will you serve others this Christmas?