Amid all the hustle and bustle of the season, I try to look for those unexpected blessings that make Christmas so special….
- The laughter of a child as he opens a brightly wrapped box.
- The joyful tear of a mother as she welcomes her freshman student home from college.
- The wonder of a perfectly-timed Christmas morning snowfall.
- And I remember that Christmas is about the unexpected blessing of our Savior.
Who among us can ever get used to the unexpected way that he came to dwell among us, or the unexpected cast of characters who came to visit him in the stable? Who would have expected that he would live his life concerned only about loving and serving others?
As I look back over our past year together at the Lafayette Urban Ministry, I remember so many instances that were unexpected blessings for me…
- I remember the young boy in the LUM After School Program who beamed with pride as he showed me the A+ on his spelling test. Our dedicated volunteers had been helping him memorize his list of words all week.
- I remember the opening of the new LUM Legal Immigration Clinic. In the days that followed, clinic staff began finding real solutions for neighbors desperate to keep their families together.
- I remember the smile on the worn face of the homeless man who finally left the LUM emergency shelter after a two week stay. A LUM case manager had helped him make a new start with a new job and a new home of his own.
- I remember the long summer days of LUM Camp where our campers played, sang, learned and made so many new friends – all while growing in confidence and self-esteem.
Last year, the Lafayette Urban Ministry served 6,027 low-income households through one or another of our 16 programs. For each of those households, the Lafayette Urban Ministry, and you, were an unexpected blessing.
I hope that you will continue to be such a blessing by making a generous Christmas Season gift to the Lafayette Urban Ministry.
Your gift of $50, $100, $250, $500, or $1,000 will be put to use right here in our own community providing at-risk children and their struggling families with brighter futures and more hopeful tomorrows.
The profound meaning of Christmas is that our Savior dwells within every heart that is loving, within each spirit that is tender – and within any gift that is shared generously with another. On behalf of the children and families at LUM who are touched by your generosity, please accept my thanks – and my sincere wish for a joyous Christmas filled with unexpected blessings!
P.S. — You may contribute to Lafayette Urban Ministry online at www.lumserve.org
Even now we simply do not expect to find a deity in a stable.
Somehow the setting is all wrong:
the swaddling clothes too plain,
the manger too common for the likes of a Savior,
the straw too inelegant, the animals reeking and noisy,
the whole scene too ordinary for our taste.
And the cast of characters is no better.
With the possible exception of the kings, who among them is fit for this night?
The shepherds? Certainly too crude.
The carpenter too rough. The girl too young.
And the baby!
Whoever expected a baby?
Whoever expected the advent of God in a helpless child?
Had the Messiah arrived in the blazing light of the glory
of a legion of angels wielding swords,
the whole world could have been conquered for Christ right then and there
and we in the church -to say nothing of the world!-
would not have so much trouble today.
Even now we simply do not expect to face the world armed only with love.
by Ann Weems
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