Monday, Third Week in Advent

by Matthew B. Harper

Blessed is he who considers the poor! The Lord delivers him in the day of trouble; (Psalm 41:1)

Throughout the Bible there is a clear preference given to those who are poor. In all human economic situations it is unfortunately true that some will have more, and some less. God gives us strong words to remember those who have less, and to get up and go do something about it.

I have a hard time with that. Prison teaches you to be selfish, (in case you didn’t already know how.) We have so very little in here, and we learn to guard our possessions and our emotions, to build a wall around our past histories and our future dreams. I fear when I think about myself as I grow older. What will I be like when I am free? Will I ever be able open up enough to find the true intimacy of a deep relationship? For years I lied about my crimes, and that betrayal prevented the deep intimacy that my fiancé and I longed for in each other. There is no room for deception in a loving relationship.

Christ comes into our lives to tear down our walls. When we invite God into our lives, we slowly become more open to inviting others in as well. We learn to yield to the impulse not just to be giving of our things, but also to be giving of our time, our energy, and our love. We learn to become vulnerable.

Christmas is a time when we often stop to reach out in ministry, or at least to write a check to a charity. But the Bible does not let us off the hook so lightly. Giving and serving is a lifelong part of a Christian life, to always be giving in our things, and more importantly, to be giving of ourselves. We are all spiritually and emotionally poor.

O heavenly word, eternal light, begotten of the Father’s might, who in these latter days wast born for blessing to a world forlorn; (Hymn 64)

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