Advent Calendar

A reading adapted from

The Advent Adventure

David Rhodes • read by Sylvia Harris

The gift of life

Christmas day has dawned. Indoors it is warm, a time for presents and celebration. Outside, the city streets are empty. No buses will be running today and many people without cars will not be able to meet with friends and family. Shops and supermarkets are shut. In their windows bright red January sales signs have appeared but for the next twenty four hours there will be an armistice in the sales war.

In the day centre people who are homeless gather for their Christmas dinner. They are in many respects a great family of people. Most of them know each other. These are ordinary people, acutely aware that this is not how they would have ideally liked to spend Christmas Day. It has brought back pain and memories of loss and failure. It was not perfection but the best the day centre could do and it seems as if the only people who have no gift to give today are the homeless and unsettled of the city.

But there was a gift from these people who are often assumed to have nothing, are nothing and will always be nothing.

The treasurer of the centre announced that they had some money in hand. What should be done with it. A party? Packets of cigarettes for all? Warm scarves for all? No, they said, the money should be divided between the two hospices in the city. There was no fuss or argument; just a simple act of loving by people who often live close to death, to others also living close to death.  

Happy Christmas!