Advent Devotion: Orphans and Widows

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."  –James 1:27 NIV

Do you know any orphans?  Have any family members, friends, or colleagues who are widows?  How are you showing them that you care?  Are you involved in their lives in a meaningful way? 

Christmas can be a difficult time for those who are alone.  Sometime around 2004, my cousins became temporary orphans.  Although they were adopted into our immediate family, they had suffered great loss. Christmas and other holidays were difficult times.  They were more likely to get in trouble at school and at home around the holidays.  It is hard to be a good kid when you are experiencing such deep pain. 

During the holidays it is important for us to be aware of the needs and losses of those around us.  A coworker may be grumpier than usual because of the loss of a spouse or tensions may arise amidst family members because of the absence of a parent.   The me-focused world of our consumer-driven Christmas has the potential to pollute our vision so that we are less compassionate towards those around us who require extra compassion. 

This Christmas turn on your personal wind-shield wipers—push back the to-do list and mindless ads—and see the world again through the vision of pure religion—a religion that cares for widows and orphans in their distress and remains unpolluted by the world.

Lord, help me to see past people’s negative behavior to the heart that is melting in loss.  Make me aware of the needs of others and show me how to respond with care.


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