A greeting of hope
My newest homeless friend waved at me as I pulled into the parking lot. I hoped to pass out hand warmers and toe warmers along with Christmas cards to those attending the Christmas Eve breakfast, and of course, hang out with my extended family.
Once I parked, I joined him and saw the tears streaking his face. I quickly moved into mama-mode. “Today’s tough, huh? Talk to me. Who are you missing?”
“I’m missing my son’s first Christmas. He’s only a few months old.”
“Are they here in town?”
“Yes, but things aren’t good right now.”
Holding his shoulders and glancing into his eyes, I asked, “So be honest. Do you know how you can change this situation?”
“Yes, I’ve messed up.” He shared his troubles and sorrow, crying like a boy instead of a man.
I tried to encourage him. “Well, then, as much as you miss your baby, let’s use that to drive you toward becoming a father, your son would be proud of.”
He wiped his face. “Yes, ma’am.”
I put him to work, giving him a task. “Here, take these Christmas cards and give everyone an envelope. And do, tell them Merry Christmas.”
“But you want me to do this?”
“Yes, you’re a missionary for Christ this morning. You’re a voice of hope for someone who is having a sad Christmas too. So go on. Go be a light.”
My friend, who I’d met two weeks ago, trudged off with his two bags of greeting cards, those created by a dear friend and her church family. I was saddened at where this young dad was, but I treasured how he wanted more in life.
I then grabbed the warmers and handed them to hungry souls, who were fighting the wind and cold weather that had settled in from the night.
My dad-friend greeted everyone in line, those who came to eat biscuits and gravy and drink hot cocoa.
After a time, I ran out of warmers and saw he still had a few cards left. “Would you like me to help you finish?”
He pulled the near-empty sack close. “No, I want to finish. I have a purpose.”
He walked off, looking into the faces of similar people with similar broken stories, offering them encouragement on a cold morning.
Later, he hugged me, smacking on his own breakfast, and announced. “I’m going to turn things around. I am. My son needs me. And I need him.”
I used that opening to ask, “Are you a follower of Christ? Do you love Jesus more than anything?”
“I used to go to church as a kid. But I’m not ... have not been ... I guess, that’s a no.”
Planting the gospel, I shared the hope in our Savior and prayed with the young man about his life and purpose with Jesus. He wept some more, hugged me hard, and thanked me for letting him pass out the cards.
All I can say is, never think someone crossing your path is there by accident. Sometimes, people need to be reminded they can become missionaries for Jesus. Even with small tasks. That touch lives in big ways!
So Merry Christmas to my newest friend and Merry Christmas to those who read my stories throughout the year.
I pray K. follows Jesus with the same zeal he handed out those Christmas cards! With the passion of a daddy who’s finding his way! May Christ save His soul and change His life forever!
Yes, may K. become a light in the New Year for his own son and become a greeting of hope for his entire family! Which is a goal we can all strive for!