For Christians, the role of charity is first built on the injunctions of the Hebrew Bible. But in the New Testament, Jesus's parables and actions also speak to the morality of charitable sentiments. In the Gospel of Luke, for example, an expert in the law notes the Hebrew Bible injunction to "love thy neighbor as thyself" and asks Jesus, "Who is my neighbor?" Jesus responds with the familiar parable of the Good Samaritan. A man on the Jericho road is robbed, stripped, and lies half-dead. After others pass by him, a Samaritan—whose people were historic rivals of the Jews Jesus was talking to—takes pity on the unfortunate, binds his wounds, and transports him to an inn for care. Jesus asks, "Who do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?" The expert says, "The one who had mercy on him," and Jesus responds, "Go and do likewise." Through the parable, Jesus essentially tells his listeners: everyone is your neighbor, even the stranger by the side of the road. Those who show mercy obey God's law. Throughout Luke, Jesus breaks through class barriers, consorting with sinners, the ritually suspect, lower-class people, the "other." That's what got him into trouble all the time! He socialized with people who made others uncomfortable—sort of how we might be uncomfortable with people who live on the street today. That was his "ministry of healing"—caring for the poor and others. The parables, the stories of Jesus being among the poor and unfortunate are important. Narrating these stories, thinking about them, moves us. It gives us a way of thinking of "the others" as human beings. It's really easy for us to see such people as somehow not worthy of our respect. Telling these stories gives the poor the fullness they deserve. As a minister for many years, the concern I have is that, at Christmastime, shelters and other places end up with more than they can use but very little the rest of the year. And so I think there is a danger of unburdening our conscience at Christmas. I would like to see a more continual reminder of the need to care for others. When we do that, the gifts of Christmas locate themselves within a larger tradition.