What else needs to be done before Christmas? Ah yes – invitations. Who was invited to see the new-born baby, Jesus? Oh yes, the shepherds. They were minding their own business – and the sheep, when suddenly an angel appeared and called them to see the baby. (Listen to the old carol at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgYzJDxxzN8)

There were no family visitors – Jesus was born while Joseph and Mary were away from home. Ordinary people were invited – shepherds at the time were almost outcasts as they were rarely able to attend the temple worship. We’d better not forget people like that – not that we can invite them all into our home! Perhaps we might support the people of Palestine in prayer http://www.sabeel-kairos.org.uk/category/taking-action/wave-of-prayer/ ); or support refugees in Newcastle http://www.wers.org.uk/ ); or give food for the destitute  http://www.peopleskitchen.co.uk/about-us/

… and offer a short prayer:

Lord, as we make preparations to enjoy the celebrations at Christmas, let us show our gratitude by remembering those who are less fortunate. Let us not forget that Jesus also led a precarious life, born in poverty and dying the death of a criminal. Amen.