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David Morrow is the Volunteer Supervisor/Donations Collection Driver in ReStore Lisburn. Read his Advent reflection below:

If we study the Christmas story carefully, we see that it was not the cosy scene we normally associate with nativity plays and pictures in children’s books, it would have been a difficult ordeal!

Firstly, Mary travelled a long distance despite being heavily pregnant. Now, I can imagine a two-hour journey by car for a soon-to-be-mother would be very uncomfortable never mind the journey from Nazareth to Jerusalem which should take 2 hours 21 minutes by car nowadays according to Google Maps! Whether by foot or on a donkey that journey must have been very difficult for both Mary and Joseph who would not have wanted Mary to endure such hardship.

Then the stress of finding a place to stay would have added to Mary’s discomfort so the stable they found may have been a welcome shelter for them. Maybe the surroundings mattered little as Jesus was born, childbirth is never easy even in a hospital, but Jesus was born and laid in a safe place – in a manger.

It is good to look at the human costs of poverty, abuse and war but it is not easy. I believe the terrible situations many people find themselves in coming up to Christmas is one of the reasons for Habitat for Humanity’s drive to help and make a difference in a person’s life. I have seen the appreciation of a customer in finding an affordable item of furniture in ReStore and behind that sale was a generous donation from one of our supporters. This is a simple way to help others and as well as the useful furniture purchase, the money raised goes to aid others in desperate situations without a safe home around the world through the wider Habitat for Humanity family.

As I go around collecting donations each day I am privileged to meet so many people with a heart for those in need and I believe this is what Jesus would want us to do. In the Christmas story Jesus came to save us from our sins and enable us to live close to God when we trust Him, but we read in James chapter 2:8 - If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbour as yourself,” you are doing right. When we see someone in need we may do something about it but when we love them we will do something.

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