Winter on the Street

Today the highs will be around 2 degrees above zero. The windchill will be pushing -20 degrees BELOW zero.

And we went out on the street.

I am often asked by folks if we serve food in the winter months. I tell them, people still need food in the winter. People still camp in the winter. People are still hungry for community in winter.

I gave the main crew of volunteers the option of not heading out to the street today with me. 4 hardy souls ventured out. We served nearly 40 people in an hour. 40 people who braved the cold to find connection.

We learned of a mama giving birth. We learned of a grandma who had died. We learned that many of our folks who are often on the street at night found friends and family who were willing to let them in for the coldest nights.

The hand warmers went quickly. The coffee spills froze almost immediately. But, the food stayed warm and the company was good.

It is where we are called to be. Each week when we say our prayers, we pray for our brothers and sisters who don’t have a place to call home. We give thanks that we have the opportunity to worship in solidarity with them. We ask the Creator to give all people the good gift of safe housing.

Tomorrow is recognized in the liturgical calendar as “the Epiphany of our Lord.” Part of the Epiphany story is that Christ is visited by the magi. 3 men who have no real connection to Jewish faith tradition, come to worship Jesus. They follow a star, believing the star to be symbolic of an important birth. They follow the light in the darkness to find a child who is the messiah. The anointed one who was long waited for. They find the light in the darkness.

Epiphany is associated with light returning or the light being seen. It is the recognition of Christ as the light of the world. It is the recognition of the opening lines in the gospel according to St John.

‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in him was life,* and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.’

Epiphany is another reminder that while it is very cold and the days are still short, the darkness does not overcome the light of Christ. It gives us hope when we are told of a grandma who has died. We trust that the darkness of grief will not overcome. The light of Christ will lead the way. It gives us hope that friends and families will open doors on the coldest nights. The bit of light to give hope of restored relationship and restored safety.

Keep hope in the light alive!