We’re going to Halifax and back in 6 days. Tom and I will have a good trip because we enjoy being together.The book launch will be fun. I’m looking forward to meeting the children who modelled for the illustrations. Sunday morning, at the church will be great. I love telling my stories. Travelling in winter carries risks. We’re asking all our friends to pray for us. I love the snow everywhere but on the road. This trip feels like a lesson in trust. But then, all life is a lesson in trust. There are no guarantees, just faith.
Ever since Halloween, the stores have been shouting “Buy this. Buy that. Get your Christmas shopping done early.” Society hammers home the message that Christmas is about buying the latest expensive toy, article of clothing, and so on. In the church, we hear a different message. We call the time of Christmas preparations Advent. For four weeks leading up to Christmas, we light candles and think about the Hope, Peace, Joy and Love that came with God two thousand years ago, when Jesus was born. We tell the ancient story about God, a young couple, a baby, a star, and three kings. We ask questions in order to learn.
One important question is: Why did God come as a baby? If God wanted to take on human form, why not come as a man or woman, grown and ready to be a leader? Certainly, the Bible emphasizes Jesus’ ministry, not his childhood. For me, the answer to this question becomes evident when I think about holding a new born baby. My heart fills with wonder and joy when I cuddle a tiny baby, a precious bundle of new life.
I believe God came first as a baby because God knew that babies have the ability to creep in through a crack in the most hardened of hearts. God knew we would want to reach out and hold the baby Jesus. God knew that baby Jesus can help us let go of our busyness, our sadness, our skepticism, if only for a few moments, and make room for God in our lives.
I challenge you to use December to prepare your heart for Christmas. Each week, set aside a few moments to sit quietly and imagine holding baby Jesus. Feel the peace, joy, and hope that comes to you. Let God’s love seep into your soul. Make room in your heart for God.
“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7)
Working on, and now, launching my latest book, “A Place Called Home”, has meant that for the last year, much of my focus has been on the issue of homelessness.
In the Bible, we hear the story of Ruth and Naomi. Famine had brought Naomi, her husband and two sons to a strange land. Death left Naomi with two daughters-in-law, no income and no home, far from her own people. One daughter-in-law returned to her father. The other, Ruth, pledged to go with Naomi. With great courage and God’s help, the two widows return to Naomi’s home country, where family helps them build a new life. Traditionally, this is considered a story of family commitment and faith. It is also a story of homelessness.
Many of us today equate homelessness with the people we see sleeping outside on heating grates in big cities. We believe that we would never be in that position. Hopefully, we won’t. But the reality is that many of us live from paycheque to paycheque. Relentless payments: insurance, mortgage or rent and hydro bills pay no attention to job layoffs, broken relationships or illness. Without the support of family and friends, ordinary middle and low income families can and do find themselves in crisis without shelter.
In the City of Kawartha Lakes, there is a place for families as well as singles and teens, a home where there is support for people in crisis. Many of us do not know its story, or even that it exists. On Thursday, Nov.18, from 5:30-7:00 PM, A Place Called Home will host an open house and launch my book to give everyone an opportunity to grow in their understanding of homelessness today. I urge you to come and see and learn. Join me Thursday at A Place Called Home, 64 Lindsay Street, South, Lindsay, Ont.
“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.
“Come and see,” said Philip. (John 1:49)
I went to the Remembrance Day Program at my grand daughter’s school. It was fabulous. They program combined the use of modern technology and audience participation. The children were quiet and respectful. This was our school system at its best.
REV. JANET STOBIE AND A PLACE CALLED HOME (residence)Invite You to OUR BOOK LAUNCH AND OPEN HOUSE Introducing our new storybook titled
“A PLACE CALLED HOME”
(Homeless? Who Me?)
Thursday, November 18, 2010 Book Signing and Open House: 5:30-7:00 p.m. Official launch ceremony: 6:00 p.m. Official Launch Ceremony at
A Place Called Home Offices, 64 Lindsay Street South, Lindsay, Ontario
PLEASE COME AND CELEBRATE WITH US.
RSVP 705-328-0905 Ext. 221
All proceeds from the sale of the storybook “A Placed Called Home” will be used in support of the homeless programs at the residence in Lindsay Ontario
The book will be available for purchase at the launch, in Lindsay at Footprints and Kent Bookstores, from the author, Janet Stobie 705-793-3804, at A Place Called Home offices 705-328-0905 ext. 221 and on the internet at www.revjantheauthor.blogspot.com and www.aplacecalledhome.org