During this holiday season we share laughter and joy, creating new memories with friends and family. Much like that night in Bethlehem, the inns were full of people having a good time while Mary and Joseph found solace in a stable where Jesus was born. Jesus was born to a homeless family. Mary and Joseph had no place to live. Even if there was space in the inn, there is no mention in the Bible as to whether Joseph could afford a room. The people enjoying themselves gave no thought to others in need. Things have not changed much today.
House of Divine Guidance has not forgotten those in need. Last month we fed the homeless for Thanksgiving and held a Community Awareness Forum to discuss what we, as a community, can do to help the homeless population. More people commit suicide during the holiday season due to depression. They see everyone else happy while they have to face the sadness in their lives.
Winter Haven Emergency Shelter is a place of JOY! We created happy memories for homeless families this past weekend as we sang Christmas carols, served dinner donated by Olazzo Restaurant, and shared the many gifts donated by others. The children learned that the real gift is the love of Jesus, JOY TO THE WORLD. They learned that Jesus came to wash away all of our sins. This joy does not begin or end at Christmas. The love of Jesus is with us all year long, as are the homeless.
Jesus, too, was homeless. During his 30 years on earth, others fed him and provided him a place to live as he traveled from place to place. “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me … whenever you did for one of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” During the end of the year, many of us take this time to reflect (Matt. 25:35-40). “What did I accomplish this year? Where did I fall short? What do I plan to do differently for the coming year?” I challenge you that as you resolve to make a change in your life for 2017, remember the homeless.
I can’t express how much joy I feel serving others. Whether it is single mother relieved to have a burden lifted, a child that runs up to me to give a hug, or the announcement from someone HDG has helped, who now has a new job or a permanent place to live. God, through the kindness of others like your, makes all these things possible. Resolve in 2017 to “serve the least of them.” Giving love to others is the best gift you can give all the year round. As the kids sing, “Jesus love is a bubbling over.” Let the love of Jesus bubble in your life.