I've several apologies to make before I start! Firstly, this is yet another post about Christmas and it's still only November 9th. Secondly, the first part is most relevant to any readers we have in the Edinburgh area. So, now that I've got those out of the way...
Where are you getting your Christmas tree this year? If you live in or near Edinburgh or Fife can I encourage you to consider buying it from Caring Christmas Trees? This is a venture run by Bethany Christian Trust, which is a local charity which aims to show Christ's love to the homeless in the area. During the winter months they run a Care Shelter hosted in various churches around the city. Every Christmas tree sold goes toward funding this project:
"When you buy just one Caring Christmas Tree, you support Bethany's Winter Care Shelter. This provides shelter and food for homeless people in Edinburgh at a time when they need it most. For the cost of one tree, we can provide a homeless person with a hot meal, a bed for the night, and breakfast."
You can order your tree online and arrange to collect it from a number of pick up points around the city or in Fife. You can also volunteer your time to help with distributing the trees or give a donation.
On a related but broader note, can I encourage you to read an interesting post from last month on the Humble Orthodoxy blog. In it, the author Doug Hayes encourages us to develop "compassion permanence" - it is a thought-provoking and challenging read.