Last year during Malcolm Turnbull’s Christmas speech he was quoted as saying, “The embrace of our family, old friendships refound, the delight of children, the mystery and joy of the divine — surely this is a wondrous time of year,” he said. “Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus — and his message of unconditional love and sacrifice. “Whether we are of any faith, or of none, it is love — forgiving, generous, never judging, unconditional, that brings us closest to the very best we can be.” Taking that speech into account I began to think about how many of the poorest people in Australia don’ t get to experience Christmas as a “Wonderous time of year.” It’s a sad, empty and lonely day as they watch others around having a great time. Most of the homeless don’t have the luxury of spending Christmas with family and friends. Those living on the street more often than not have nowhere to go, nobody to share Christmas with, and to them Christmas becomes just another sad and lonely day. Remember that a lot of homeless kids aren’t there by choice but feel its their only option to the alternative they left behind. Christmas time is a great opportunity to spread the news of God’s unconditional love by giving it away. As Christians we can become part of the solution by taking the opportunity to bring the unconditional love of Christ and the reason why Jesus died for us on the Cross. There are many ways to serve God within the community during this time of year. Jesus orders Simon to feed his sheep. In this verse we see that loving God equates to acts of service. John 21:14 – “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep“. What can we do? In the lead up to Christmas many of us get busy cleaning and decorating. We also shop for gifts for our children to place under our Christmas trees and look forward to our church services and sharing a meal with family and friends. Consider giving gifts of time, food, cash, clothing and the bare necessities like hygene products and supermarket gift vouchers to the homeless. Charity organisations conduct annual Christmas appeals to collect food, clothing and toys for disadvantaged children and their families. So when you’re cleaning out your home, don’t just dispose of good unwanted used items in your recycle bin. Visit a local charity or place in the bins provided out at the parking lot of most local shopping centres. Australia’s Main 3 Charity Organisations that help break the cycle of disadvantage in our communities. Here’s how you can help make a difference. The Salvation Army – You can help by making cash donations, giving your unwanted items like clothing, bric-a-brac, toys, furniture and more. If you need help this Christmas with food hampers and more visit their page. Or you may want to have St. Vincent De Paul Society – Make a donation of money, clothes, furniture, food, and donate to their Christmas appeal. The Smith Family Charity – You can make a donation, sponsor a child, shop at their retail stores, volunteer & get involved. Don’t worry If you don’t make your donations on time before Christmas, there will always be people in need all year round. Bible Verses About Giving Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7 For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have. 2 Corinthians 8:12 Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke 6:38 But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. 1 Chronicles 29:14 Where to Get Help Talk to your doctor and see a mental health professional. Visit CCAA to search for a Christian counsellor near you. Visit ACA to search for a counsellor near you. Free 24/7 Counselling Services Lifeline on 13 11 14 Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800 MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978 Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36 Headspace on 1800 650 890 Studying at aifc Have you thought about counselling? It’s a great opportunity to learn how you can extend God’s love and grace to the hurting out in the community. For those who would like to enrol in aifc’s accredited Christian counselling courses we have two intakes per year for courses commencing around the following months: At The beginning of each year in February. Mid-Year courses commence in July. Enrolment season opens 2-3 months prior our courses commencing. Enquire now and fill out the form with your details to receive course information by email. Enrol online here during our enrolment season. Those living overseas can study aifc’s courses via our Distance Based Program. The International Student Program, enables those with a student visa to Study On Campus in Sydney. Note: A Master of Counselling course will be commencing in 2018. Contact aifc Monday to Friday from 9am – 5pm with your enquiries on 6242 5111 or toll free on 1300 721 397 Share this Facebook Twitter Pinterest Where to get help 24/7 Helplines Lifeline: 13 11 14 Kids Helplines: 1800 551 800 Mensline: 1300 789 978 Beyond Blue: 1300 22 46 36 Headspace: 1800 650 890 Talk to your doctor and see a mental health professional. Visit CCAA to search for a Christian counsellor near you.