Advent calendars come in many shapes and sizes. I came across one this week that encourages people to carry out an act of kindness a day in the run up to Christmas. This is not unlike the '40 Acts' initiative that some folk supported during the 40 days of Lent earlier in the year. It reminds us that Advent, like Lent, is a time when we prepare ourselves not only for the big event ahead but also our hearts to be more open to the teachings of Jesus.
Being kind and considerate towards one another was the theme of the morning assembly that I led at Medlock School on Monday. Through words and actions we retold a story in the bible that shows us an example of kindness. The amazing picnic that Jesus organised for over 5,000 people wouldn’t have happened without the kindness of a little boy who offered up his 5 loaves and 2 fish to one of Jesus’ disciples, Andrew, who then brought the offering to Jesus’s attention, (John 6:7-9). Jesus then showed his love towards the hungry and tired crowd by blessing and breaking the food enabling it to be transformed into thousands of fish finger sandwiches (one of my favourite snacks!) with plenty left over.
On this St Andrew’s feast day we not only recall Andrew’s part in that miracle story but also the time when he kindly introduced his brother Peter to Jesus, (John 1:39-42), which lead to Peter’s life being transformed from a humble fisherman to a leader of new religious movement. Who knows where our small acts of kindness and consideration towards each other can lead or how Jesus can bless and multiply what we are willing to offer in order to help sustain the hungry and tired people around us this week.
Happy St Andrew’s Day!