Last Sunday, the third Sunday in Advent, had an interesting twist toward the end of the service. The ushers passed baskets containing envelopes to everyone. Each person, including the children, chose an envelope. Inside was either a five or one dollar bill, with a few lucky persons received twenty dollar bills. There were two cards in each envelope. One gave instructions about hos to give the money to a stranger; the other was a holiday greeting from the church to be given with the money.
A few years ago, Mike did something very similar at our church. On that Sunday, a gentleman came to him after the service and wanted to take him to lunch. After the meal, the man said, "I never liked you. However, when you gave me money in church a few weeks ago, I started to like you, because you gave me an opportunity to do something for someone else." Now, I don't know why the man had never felt inclined to help others, but at least he was honest.
When we got our envelopes this Sunday, my husband, Mike, immediately had a person in mind to give his five dollar bill to; but I am still waiting for God to bring someone to me. The church giving us money? Yes, it happened as a way to help us spread love at this season of hope and expectation.
God, there are times when unexpected opportunities come in your name to spread love in the kingdom. Wherever we are open our eyes to guide us to those who need your love and encouragement not only in Advent, but all the time. Amen.