Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Read: [Meditate on the scripture of the week.]
Reflect: [Use this devotional thought for a moment of reflection. Today’s devotional is written by Josh Lamm.]
Preparing to write this blog, I gathered some paper, my Bible, and my computer. I began to read the verses for the week. Once I finished, I felt more lost than when I began so I read them again. Still, I was lost. I tend to over think things and get distracted, and this was no exception. So I read the verses again. Then distraction set in. I ended up on an hour long rabbit trail of websites and news articles, only to find myself rereading the verses over and over trying to refocus my brain to the task at hand. I spent another hour in this endless cycle of rereading and distraction. All the while, I couldn’t shake something I read while on one of my rabbit trails. It was a story about a man in Norfolk Virginia. Buried between twenty or so other articles I read, I couldn’t move on from this one.
Neal lives in Norfolk Virginia. He was a cab driver for 15 years and a couple of years ago he lost his job. As his bills piled up, he found himself having spent through his savings. His journey landed him in bed number 13 of the local mission where he has spent the last year. Neal isn’t the only one at the mission; he is surrounded by other people whose stories sound all too familiar. Neal has shelter, he has a bed, he also has food, but there was still something his heart desired for Thanksgiving. A family. So he did the only thing he knew to do, put out an ad asking for a family.
Wanted: A family to share Thanksgiving with
Large 54 y.o. Christian, homeless male is looking for a person, family or couple to share Thanksgiving day with. I consider myself as someone who is easy to get along with. I am very grateful to God for everything he has blessed me with. I love to sing praises to God. I was very very alone last Thanksgiving and would not like to go through that this Thanksgiving. I currently have no transportation, so unfortunately this will need to be provided (sorry).
I think back through my short number of years on this earth, and each Thanksgiving has been enjoyed with not only more than enough food, but with family. I don’t really have a context in which I can even begin to relate with Neal. But I do know how much my family means to me, and I look forward to seeing them every year. Not long after his ad was posted, a military family “adopted” Neal for Thanksgiving. When he received the call at the mission he began to cry.
The season of advent isn’t just for us. Just as Christ’s birth and death are not only for us, family isn’t just for those forutnate enough to have one. In the words of Uncle Ben to Peter Parker, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Those of us who know the meaning of advent and have felt the love of family are not to keep them for ourselves. We are to share them to a hurting world.
The season of Advent is book ended by two of the most family centered holidays – Thanksgiving and Christmas. While it can be easy to provide a meal or buy a few extra gifts for a family in need (both of which I think you should do if you have the means), let’s pray that our eyes will be open to those longing for a family when they need it most.
Today, think of a friend you know for whom Thanksgiving may have been a difficult or lonely experience. Perhaps someone who has lost a loved one, or someone for whom family is especially challenging. Reach out and send them a quick message; letting them know that you love them, are thankful for them, and are praying for them today.