I was near the end of my run when I suddenly tripped on a bump in the sidewalk. As I fell face first towards the sidewalk, I managed to hurt my head, my shoulder, my elbow, my knee and my finger as I crashed awkwardly to the ground.

I was hurt, a little disorientated and a lot embarrassed.

As I got up and started the walk home, I was bleeding from multiple places and was questioning my ability to get back on my own. My husband was out, but I knew if I could just make it back to my house, my teenage daughter, who was working on a project in the garage, would be able to help me. All I had to do was to get home.

What about you? Can you think of a time when you could have used some help, a kind word or a bit of assistance?

As it’s Christmastime, let’s consider the story of Joseph and Mary as they traveled into Bethlehem—tired, weary and expecting a very special baby. As the story goes, when they arrived, the town was so busy with everyone coming to register for the census, there was not a room to be rented anywhere.

No doubt about it, Joseph and Mary needed to find a friend in that city of strangers, someone who would lend them a hand, offer them a kindness and give them a place to stay. They found that friend in the innkeeper, who offered the only thing he had available—the solitude of a stable.

This Christmas, you and I can look for an opportunity to be like that innkeeper whose simple act of benevolence impacted all history by providing a humble stable for the Christ child to be born.

We could be the one who gives a simple gift to someone who could benefit from a little act of kindness, generosity or compassion.

According to the World Bank’s most recent estimates, there are 736 million people living on less than $1.90 per day.* Education, medical services, safe water and job training are critical to reversing the plight of the poor.

We might not be able to personally travel to Africa, visit a village suffering from drought and make a life-changing difference. But there are simple ways that we can extend a hand of kindness and make a big difference to someone living with serious need. It’s actually pretty easy to be that figurative friend in a city of strangers. For example:

You can pray for those living in extreme poverty. If you’re not sure how to pray for the poor, take a look at Bright Hope’s prayer wall for specific and up-to-date prayer requests from the field.

You can advocate for the poor by sharing what you’ve learned with your friends, your family or your social media followers. If you want to do something in an official capacity, you could join our advocacy group Tribe.

And of course, you can give. When you give a gift to some of the world’s neediest through Bright Hope, you can be confident that your gift is going to help those who need it most. Not only will you help meet a need for a critical item such as safe water, job training, education or nutritious food, but your gift is distributed through a local church. Because of this, the church becomes a place for the recipient to turn to in times of need and for fellowship, counsel and resource, which allows multiple opportunities for the Gospel to be shared and received—which, to me, is awesome!

This Christmas look for ways you can be that figurative friend in a city of strangers. You might not have to look past your own household for someone who needs a helping hand. (Like with me and my daughter.) But don’t forget to also look outside your comfort zone, past the confines of your community, your country or even across the globe, to someone who might be looking for a hand up, a friendly gesture or a generous gift. I bet you find that when you give, you feel the distinct, warm blessing that comes when we serve the Lord by loving His children.

*https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/poverty/overview

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