Monday Dec. 19, 2022
One of the towns that we stayed in on the Camino de Santiago Del Norte was called La Caridad. Originally, the town had a different name but the name was changed because the people of the town developed a reputation for being devoted to caring for the pilgrims who came through. So the name of the town was changed to reflect that. Caridad means ‘charity’ or love or compassionate hospitality. The people of the town were so caring, the town was renamed to reflect that.
So, in that town, we stayed in a hostel that did not have wifi. I needed wifi to arrange for my backpack to be carried by Correos, the postal system. So, I went in search of wifi – pronounced ‘weefee’ in Spain. I went to a bar on the town square. I asked if there was wifi. The server told me, yes, there was wifi. So, I ordered a Kass Limon, a soda, and sat down at a table and got out my phone. After inquiring about the password, I came to find out that there was no wifi at this bar. As I saw it, I had been lied to. Next, I went to a hostel just a few doors down from ours. I was told they had wifi. I explained my circumstances to the host and he said, basically, too bad. Their wifi was only for their guests. Getting desperate, I went to another bar. The woman working there told me there was wifi but it wasn’t reliable. She was doubtful that it would work. She gave me the password and let me know I was free to try it. And it worked. Whew! And I hadn’t even ordered anything at that bar. But after using the wifi, we gave her a tip which she tried to refuse.
This left me asking myself about the name of the town and its reputation for being so generous to pilgrims walking the Camino. It was one of the least hospitable towns as far as I was concerned.
So, I am thinking about our name, Christians. When people hear that, they should assume that we are caring, compassionate, and hospitable. Eager to help. Generous. Yet how many experiences do people have with so-called Christians that do not reflect the love and caring of Christ?
This season of Advent can be a time to practice our charity, compassion, and generosity by having a supportive, understanding attitude in our interactions with others. By helping others as we can. By giving as we are able. By putting the Christ back in Christmas with our behavior and approach and attitude. And we just might find a little bit of Christ not only in Christmas but in ourselves.
May we try to show Christ to others by who we are and what we do. Today, may we do something Christlike for someone. A friend. A family member. A random stranger. May we reflect our name, Christian. Amen.