Christmas eve. Early afternoon. The quiet. Living alone is most profound in these seasons which emphasize togetherness. A choice is set before me: huddle in the warmth of my small apartment home, or go out on an adventure with a view toward blessing someone who has no home.
It brings to mind the birth of our Lord Jesus. Mary and Joseph were sequestered temporarily in a Bethlehem stable. There was no room in the inn. So in a sense, they were homeless. And despite the wonder of Jesus’ birth, despite the adoration of the angels, the shepherds and the magi from afar, a malevolent reality spread across the land. Herod wanted this new king dead.
In the natural, Joseph, Mary and Jesus were profoundly alone. But the Angel of the Lord warned Joseph in a dream. So, in a sense, the events leading up to this point were clearly ordained for the protection of this family. Perhaps it was for an extra measure of safety that God allowed them to be consigned to a stable, rather than in an inn, where a family might be expected to be found. God provided what they needed when they needed it. The inn keeper is not named in the biblical account, but clearly his role was important to offering them a measure of refuge from the elements in the stable.
In the natural it might be tempting to downplay the impact of even small acts of kindness toward the poor, the homeless, the elderly, the widow in her distress, and the orphaned. It might be even more tempting to be content to pray, or to throw a nickel in a red tin once a year. Far easier than making firsthand contact with someone in profound need of our love, our giving, our continued expressions of Christlike sacrifice.
So, off I go while the day is still young. This is no mere theoretical exercise. It is time to put my words into action. Will you do the same?
Break camp and advance….
I just returned from my excursion, a 20 mile round trip to the Hollywood District in Portland, Oregon. Everyday, on one of the street corners, a lady stands with her cardboard sign. But it isn’t just any cardboard sign. No witty sayings. No pleas for money. Rather, she sits or stands in rain or sunshine, drawing beautiful pictures with colored pencils. I am glad she was there today. Her smile lit up as I had the privilege of blessing her with a few gift cards from local food establishments near her regular spot. The great news is, I know I will see her again. I pray that God meets her needs in ways that bring her off the streets, and that she comes to know Jesus personally as her Savior.