Think about it – when Jesus was born, the Jews had not heard from God in about 400 years and they were occupied by the
For me, songs of hope are so, well, hopeful, this season because life around us in Glenwood isn’t always cheery. The Friday before Christmas was a really hard day, and would have been even if we had not put Joe to sleep. First, we had a visit in the morning from one of our friends in the neighborhood who has been struggling for years to get her life on track, to get off of crack and off the streets. She had spent over 6 months in a stable environment, but she has recently lost her father, which send her and her family into a bad place and she has wound up back walking our streets. I believe that Jesus lives in her, and she is closer to freedom than she was a couple of years ago. When she saw me, she said, “I just need a hug and for you to pray for me,” and so we prayed arm in arm on the street, and then she spent an hour or so pouring out hear heart to Diane. She never asked us for anything, and eventually, she left, back into the cold, trying to figure things out.
From there I delivered presents from our church to a family who lives in one of the harshest projects in
When I got home, Diane told me that another family had called our friend Melissa, desperate for help. The mom had saved money for Christmas, but their car had to be repaired and the Christmas money had to go to that. Thankfully our church had grocery store and gas station gift cards to help out, and we were also able to find a Wal-mart card for them as well. And in the midst of this, I was also forced to look at selfishness in my own heart as I was reluctant to pass on some of the money that God had freely and graciously given our family, above and beyond what we needed, my unthankfulness showing up dark against the generous Christ who lives within me.
This Friday before Christmas is an example of why it is both a blessing and a heartache to live in Glenwood. The heartache is clear (and there are more stories that I could tell), but the blessing is that the hope of Christ is joy and it is a thrill of hope. Without Jesus coming, we are all lost. If my friends and I don’t prepare Him room in our hearts, we will be forever desperate and wanting.
But the Lord has come, He has come to beat back sin, to bring life and light to all, risen with healing in His wings. God is with us, Emanuel. That is joy to the world.