The girls in the cleaning department at a London bus depot were looking forward to Christmas. They were discussing plans for the holiday as Will Stewart, London City Mission evangelist, approached with LCM calendars for the following year.
He asked them what they thought was the true meaning of Christmas. After a considered silence one replied, ‘It’s expensive’. Another asked, hesitantly, ‘Didn’t Jesus die at Christmas?’
Will was amazed at their lack of knowledge, although it was not the girls’ fault. They had never heard the wonderful news of God coming to earth in human form. It had not been taught at home nor in school, and they had never attended church.
Sadly, those girls are typical of many today. Surrounded by the trinkets and baubles of the season, Will took the opportunity to introduce them to the inside story.
Sharing good news
Will visits 21 bus depots in South East London and offers calendars and literature to the staff. He is thankful for the Christians among the drivers and engineers with whom he can pray and who provide a consistent witness among their colleagues. He relies on God to provide him with opportunities to speak to the right person at the right time.
Christmas is a good time to share the gospel. People are more inclined to go to church, and some venture beyond the materialism that blights the festive season to consider why it is celebrated in the first place.
LCM evangelists make the most of this time of year to share the Good News of Jesus’ coming and what it means for us.
Away from the frenzy of present-buying and tree-decorating are some who own nothing, can buy nothing, and are entirely dependent on the benevolence of others.
Hard time for the homeless
Christmas is a hard time for the homeless. The weather can be harsh, the ground icy, and families are greatly missed.
At Waterloo Christian Centre, a Christmas meal is provided, as well as breakfast every other morning of the year.
A dedicated team of LCM staff and volunteers, managed by Will Thorburn, provide dinner with all the trimmings and give a gift to everyone who comes along. These will be packages of socks, hats, gloves, or toiletries – anything that will be useful in the difficult months ahead.
More important to the men than food or presents, is the time the staff at Waterloo spend with them. Will and his team sit and chat, or just listen, meeting needs and helping wherever they can.
Around 85 people come to the Centre on Christmas Day. Carols are sung and a short message preached. Some follow the talk in the Bibles handed to them, while others do crosswords or listen to walkmans.
But the team at Waterloo are confident that they are links in a chain as they reach out to these men and women. In God’s timing, those he has called will become his.
As ‘must-have’ presents become more expensive and merchandise invades the shops ever earlier each year, LCM evangelists carry with them the offer of a priceless gift – the gift of eternal life through the Lord Jesus Christ.
This wonderful news does not discriminate between rich and poor – nor is it only available at Christmas!