“The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the Lord will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.” Isaiah 41:17 (NIV)
Recently, i heard letters of petition being read out during a Novena session. Two letters stood out. One woman expressed her loneliness after her husband passed away, praying that her children would visit her more often and, better yet, allow her to live with them. Another mother sorely missed her children, who were all abroad, and prayed that they could visit her during this festive season. I am sure many, like me, felt a lump in our throats as the reality of the festive joy hits us.
With all the anticipation and preparation for Christmas, it’s so easy to get caught up in the food, the decoration and the gifts. We totally forget that there are those whose sadness and loneliness are amplified just as much as we are looking forward to Christ’s coming. When we over-cater and indulge in too much food and drinks, we also forget that there are those who can barely manage to have a decent meal.
My daughter always remembers how we had difficulties making ends meet some years ago. I used to pack sandwiches as lunch for everyone, and she was so envious of her friends in school who could afford expensive, pretty stationery and buy new school bags every year. When Ben was out of job and working part-time, i was glad our children accepted the need to be thrifty again, and even encouraged Ben to save when he was so eager to give us a treat from his first pay-check!
It is when we are alone that we cherish more those whom we miss. It is when we become poor that we treasure what we have not.
Despite all the crises we’ve been through – in the family, Ben’s job, finance, our mums’ declining health etc – God has brought us closer together. For these, we are deeply thankful… By R