Christmas is just around the corner, with retailers hoping for a successful month after “Black Friday”, shoppers hoping to find good deals, children hoping to get that special present. A month filled with hope.
In Christendom, with Christmas just around the corner, it is a time to celebrate the season of Advent. Advent means coming, and specifically for Christians, it is Christ’s coming to earth. The length of the Advent season itself is determined by the day of Christmas, but it begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas.
Often with Advent celebrations, there is a focus each week on a different aspect of our relationship with God, expressed with many different words including promise, light, love, hope, joy, peace and faith.
As a Christian faith-based organization, we have our own words to remember our history, our faith, our reason for being, to contemplate and to celebrate. For this first week of Advent, my focus is on the word Compassion.
Compassion is expressed in many different ways – actively listening to others, providing unconditional support, meeting people and letting them be just “where they are at”, understanding and not judging.
We show compassion because of who we are.
Compassion because we are different? No, compassion because we are all very much the same, and are looking for and hoping for many of the same things. We extend it because we see ourselves in those we help, because we have empathy. For some of our staff at Mission Services of London, they have been there, or someone close has been there, and they have not just empathy, but lived experience.
Compassion just to those we serve? No, compassion to those we work with as well.
Compassion to feel good? No, compassion to do good. Because there is a hope that the best is yet to come, in our client’s lives, in our every day work lives, in our community and nation. And that hope is because of the Christ child.
That hope means our compassion extends beyond the coming month.
Compassion – it is why we do what we do at Mission Services of London.
As we start this season of Advent, think about how you can show compassion to others and give them hope.