We are now only a few weeks away from Christmas and although we can grumble that Christmas seems to get earlier every year, we do eventually get into the Christmas spirit. Time with family, giving and receiving presents, and Christmas dinner is all very exciting, but it is not the reason for the season.
Despite all the commercialism we need to remember the true meaning of Christmas.
As Christians, Christmas is about praising God the Father for sending His one and only Son into the world. As the angel of the Lord said to Joseph, “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
This tiny baby born to a virgin in a stable in Bethlehem over two thousand years ago was the Messiah the one who would die for his people and then rise from the grave defeating death and giving us life.
Despite being the Messiah, Jesus did not spend his time with the high and mighty in society, he spent his time with those that were seen as outcasts in society: tax collectors, the sick, and the poor.
At Signpost we strive to model Jesus’ example of walking alongside people experiencing poverty and injustice in all that we do.
There are so many people throughout the world living in poverty who are feeling lost and without a purpose. One person that felt like this was Rose and I would like to share her story with you.
Rose lives in West Habog-Habog, an impoverished neighbourhood in Iloilo in the Philippines with her husband and her six children. In 2018 she joined a self-help group run by Signpost’s in country partners where she received training on how to manage a business as well as her home finances.
“Before I just stayed at home and waited for my husband coming home from work. I felt very lonely and that I had no purpose in life. On top of this neither I nor my husband knew how to manage and budget our finances which caused us a lot of stress.”
Rose then heard about the self-help groups where she learnt how to manage her finances and received medical training to care for others.
“The seminars and trainings helped me get out of the house and allowed me to meet new people. I learned how to manage my finances as well as receiving medical training which means I can now look after my family better and help others.”
After joining the self-help groups for herself and benefitting from them Rose was invited to become a leader of the self-help groups where she now leads different groups and shares her skills with others.
“I now have a purpose in life, I have learnt many new skills and I’m now able to help others. I feel like a new person as I have the confidence to do new things and I have learnt that I can make a difference.”
Rose has gone from someone who felt they had no purpose in life to a strong, confident woman who is now making a real difference in her local community helping others.
As we take a moment away from the commercialisation at this time of year, let’s remember the real reason for the season this Christmas. Let’s remember how Jesus lived his life and in so doing I pray that we all feel inspired to follow Jesus’ example of walking alongside those experiencing poverty and injustice.
With your help more people can join self-help groups and we can make Rose’s request come true: “I want everyone to know about the self-help groups so they can learn new skills and grow in confidence.”
Thank you and we pray that you have a blessed Christmas.