December 4

Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19

“May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor.” vs. 4

The psalmist composed this prayer for the coronation of a new king, perhaps for David’s beloved son, Solomon. It reflects the deep desire of the people for a leader who would bring prosperity to Israel and provide protection against invading armies. It’s the sort of prayer that is on our lips when we inaugurate a president–we’re concerned about the military and the economy–we want safety and riches. But the king also had other responsibilities. Again and again our scripture reminds us that the poor and the needy should be the special concern of whoever sat on the throne. Everyone else could take care of themselves, but the lowly had no one to look out for them. They had no other benefactor but the king. For the most part that’s still how it works. Fortunately we live in a land where there are advocates for poor–we have many charitable organizations who focus on caring for the hungry and the helpless. This time of the year they’re hard at work raising funds and building awareness, and every one of us will have multiple opportunities to help the broken and the hungry. Often it seems as though our congress and legislatures have forgotten their poorest constituents. What a blessing it is when we can take up the slack and give generously, not only now, but all through the year!

Thought for the Day: Where am I directing my charitable giving this Christmas?

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