For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Matthew 25:35-40 (NIV)
My children are already hyper and incredibly excited about Christmas, and right now I’m being pestered as to how soon the Christmas tree can go up in the house. Most of the presents have already been purchased online and Amazon appears to have a twice weekly delivery slot to our house! The sense of anticipation is quite tangible.
It’s very different for the people we work with. At Glasgow City Mission, we try not to talk about clients or service users, but like to think of the people we help as ‘guests’ who visit with us for a while and we share hospitality with. Many of our guests will at best see Christmas as just another day, and, at worst, dread it.
As others catch up with family and friends, the isolation and vulnerability of our guests becomes all too apparent. Relationship breakdown is the number one reason for homelessness, and if ever there was a time that focuses on, and amplifies relationships – it’s Christmas.
One of the main gifts Glasgow City Mission can bring is to spend time with people. We have a number of events taking place throughout December, reaching a climax at our annual Christmas Dinner party. More than 250 Christmas Dinners will be served up amidst a loving and caring environment. It’s a fabulous occasion and one that screams ‘we love you, God loves you, and this is what this Christmas thing is really all about’.
Our Glasgow Winter Night Shelter opens its doors again this December, and we’re concerned that, similar to last year, the numbers will exceed our capacity. We’ve got a dedicated and loving team who work tirelessly over these next four months to provide shelter in these cold winter nights and to work with the local authority in trying to get permanent solutions and accommodation for our guests.
As Christ followers, Glasgow City Mission wants to express Christ’s love for a broken world, each and every day. As we approach Christmas and celebrate Immanuel “God with us”, we want to be present with the least and the lost, sharing what we have with those who have little or nothing in Glasgow.
Chief Executive of Glasgow City Mission