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  • mdallner

What has formed you?

The Advent Season is an important time of year for me as a Christian to look back and reflect on what it means to truly do God’s work. Have I been fulfilling my vow as a Christian and United Methodist to support the church with my prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness? Have I been getting my hands ‘dirty’ and doing the work that is needed to love, support and uplift all of God’s children? Have I been examples to those around me, showing what it means to be a Christian? All of these questions make me think about a time that I was a child; an experience that formed me and is a foundation in my life.

When I was young, my family lived in California. We didn’t have a lot of money. My parents worked multiple jobs to make ends meet yet we seemed to always have what we needed. Food on the table, clothes to keep us warm (yes it can get chilly in California), and a roof over our head. It was very important to my mom to make sure we realized how fortunate we were, so one Saturday morning she decided to show us. After what seemed to be a normal morning, she drove us to the park that was down by the river and the freeway. In that park was where many of the homeless lived. With no roof over their head and only the clothes on their back, they were in constant search of their next meal. It was then that it finally sunk in how incredibly fortunate we were!

After our trip to the park we started talking about how we could help them, after all, they were people too. We were young and didn’t have the judgmental thoughts that maybe it was their fault, or that they made bad choices that landed them in their current situation. We were genuinely moved to help because we saw the individual as a person. We decided to make them lunches and hand them out. Each lunch included a baloney sandwich, bottle of water, homemade cookie and an orange from our tree in the backyard. To us it was a simple lunch, but when we delivered them, the gratitude was amazing! You would have thought that we had just handed them a fancy four course meal.

Weeks went on and we continued to bring meals every week until just bringing a meal turned into sitting down and talking with them. We learned about each person, their struggles, their families, their hopes and dreams. They were just like us! One woman in particular made jewelry and always loved to show me her newest creation. She was so nice and generous that she gave me a pair of earrings that I still have to this day. Now as an adult I look back and see that as a pivotal moment in my life. She had no home, almost no clothing and very little food but was so grateful for what we were doing she wanted to share something from her talents.

Now as I have my own children that live in a beautiful house, have plenty of clothes and food, I am challenged with opening their eyes up to the world and what God calls us to do. God calls us to encourage one another, build up one another and share our abundance. I challenge you to think about what shaped you as a Christian and how you can use that to continue God’s work. What can you do this Advent season to make a difference in someone’s life? This Advent Messenger has many different opportunities for you to become the hands of God. Now let’s get to work and get them ‘dirty’!

Blessings to all this Advent Season!

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