In Bethlehem still: same beloved town, same dear place and the same fresh breeze. Autumn foliage is slowly sweeping in as leaves of the trees are turning into shades of yellow, orange and magenta. Scarves, jackets, a drizzle and the chill of a cold evening; the irresistible aroma of coffee, biscuits and freshly baked cakes inside every home; matchless hospitality.
It is in visiting people’s homes recently, that I came to think about Jesus, friend to all…As part of our social culture, people visit one another often – making friendly calls and visits to congratulate one another on various occasions…and all of a sudden “SMILE!”, your picture is being taken!
It is these pictures that say quite a lot: smiles on some faces, bewilderment on others, some lonely, others have found fellowship with a friend or a neighbour. Some live and work, some live and still look for work, and some have no idea why they live…
Again, this all led me to think of Jesus, my Jesus who was a friend to all, the sinners, the sick, the lonely, the rejected, the weak and the lowly. He never hesitated to build friendships with anyone in need. He never judged but always comforted, blessed, encouraged, and said the truth in love…Always sought to draw a smile, and give a special touch…
An old hymn says:
“His name is Jesus, Jesus, let us weep no more, He has healed the broken hearted, open wide the prison doors, He is able to deliver ever more.”
Last week, along with some close friends, I visited Miriam in her 50-year-old house. She is a spinster in her mid-sixties who has been living on her own since her parents died 30 years ago. She has been doing everything by herself for all those years: cooking, eating, cleaning, watching TV.
Yet her faith in Jesus and genuine spirit shone with every word she shared with us. She couldn’t stop reciting all the Bible verses she knew by heart, all the old hymns she could sing a beautiful tune to. Her charming smile said it all: Jesus is my everything.
Imagine living on your own all that time and still uttering these words…but also try to remember that life can be lonely at times when you live in the shadow of four walls. It is almost as if Miriam wants to cling to people before they leave – everything in her wondering: “When will you visit me again?”
Day by day, and as many people continue to feel like they constantly cannot leave this “prison”, may we find freedom and liberation in bringing joy to others, in extending a hand of care to the rejected, a smile to the desperate and perhaps a loaf of bread to those who are hungry. Let us remember to be Christ’s hands and feet to a world that desperately needs a touch from above. God sees all that we do and wastes nothing: “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” Matthew 25: 41.
As we are drawing closer to the Christmas season and as many people here – and even more in the West – have already started getting occupied with Christmas trees, and festive decorations, let us not forget one another, let us keep our eyes open and look out for one another… May the Lord help us – as His followers- and enable us to live all the days of our lives in the service of the one and only KING.