A Place Where Everyone Knows Your Name

I received a special gift this December, the chance to join the wonderful volunteers from God’s Grace who go to lead a bingo game at the Gathering Place.  My contribution was making some gingerbread men and some sugar cookie stars.  While the cookies were a hit, I felt like I was an observer as I watched Linda and her joyful smile comfortably breeze through the room reconnecting with what appeared to be old friends. Claudia, Diana, Jim and their leader Debbie all greeted women by name and visited with them as though they were catching up with their neighbors.

Debbie asked me if it was what I expected. I said no. I’m not really sure what I expected but I saw women who could easily be me sitting in their place, the difference was I have a family network that has supported me through the rough patches life inevitably brings.

Jesus was born homeless. He arrived without the fanfare of even excited neighbors coming to check on his family and welcome him into the world. He was born in a barn, with only the animals and his parents as witnesses to the birth of a King among Kings.

I hope I can go and participate with the bingo crowd again someday. If you haven’t yet had the chance, I encourage you to tag along and see for yourself. Jesus is there among the women who live on the streets. They all just need a place to get warm, a place where people know their name and greet them with the warmth and love of a dear friend.

Matthew 25:34-40

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 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, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Julie Weldon

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