I awoke this morning with a heavy heart. For some, Christmas isn’t a time of laughter and cheer. Despite what the world portrays on TV commercials, many will not be sitting around a big, bright tree drinking egg nog and unwrapping gifts. Some will spend their day on the street with nowhere to go. Lord willing, some of them might get lucky enough to end up at a homeless shelter where volunteers are providing meals. And it’s not only the homeless I’m talking about.
There are so many people who have lost loved ones and have a difficult time during any holiday season. It’s never easy to lose those we love, whether it be from medical reasons, or evil walking into an elementary school and shooting children. The loss is hard and magnified by those special days when family and friends join together to celebrate. The absence of a special person is glaring when the table is set for a holiday meal.
I know most Christians focus on the birth of Christ as the “reason for the season”, but we still exchange gifts as per the tradition. There’s usually something about Christmas that invokes a tingle of excitement within me. I don’t know if it’s the music, the crisp smell of winter in the air, or the beautiful decorations and lights. I’m just not feeling that this year.
For the last two years, we have volunteered with an inner city youth ministry called One7. For those of you following my blog, you have probably heard about One7. On a daily basis, we see people who are lost, hurting, and have no hope. We do what we can to help, but sometimes it feels like we just can’t do enough. Sometimes, we get a reminder of why we do what we do. Yesterday was one of those times.
We went to the apartment of a family whose children come to One7. There are six of them, ages 14 down to a couple of toddlers. We arrived to find the apartment utterly trashed. Toys, garbage, books, and clothing scattered all over the floor inside and outside as well. The temperature was in the 40’s, and they were running around outside with no shoes or jackets on. Their mom left a while ago, and their dad has been gone on a job for two days. He just left them all alone to fend for themselves.
After talking with the oldest, who just turned 14 on Friday and has to be a mom to her younger siblings, we found out that they have not had any food in the house for several days. I looked in the refrigerator, and it was empty except for a jug of milk. These are kids who come to One7 and run around and play like they don’t have a care in the world. People just don’t know the suffering and pain others are going through.
These are things that completely break my heart and wreck me to the very core of my being. We are to be a light to this world so full of darkness and despair. People don’t need gifts, hot chocolate, and jingle bells.
They need love.
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Have a blessed day,