Homeless at Christmas

Thought for the Season.

— Tidings, December 2018 and January 2019 —

I have spent the morning making houses—places for bugs to overwinter and birds to nest in the spring. Just as I was bringing some last bits to finish off, a robin flew down onto the roof of a bug house to inspect what I had been up to.

It’s all part of caring for our world—in this case the churchyard in Chedgrave, God’s acre. If we can provide homes for some of our wildlife perhaps that will encourage them to thrive which can only be a good thing.

It set me to thinking about people in our communities, cities, countries—those with homes and those without. If you are reading this, then likely it has come through your letterbox and you are in the comfort of your own home. Lucky you! But what about those without anywhere to live?

I wonder if you can imagine what it might be like to be forced from your home by war or abuse, environmental disaster or financial crisis; leaving most if not all of your possessions behind; not knowing where you are going to spend the next night. There are millions of displaced people in the world; some on the move, some living in makeshift camps. And there are hundreds of people who are homeless in our own country—it is not a life choice for many. But surely everyone deserves somewhere safe and secure to live, don’t they?

“Well, that’s never going to happen”, I hear you say. And I’m not surprised. The dream that everyone in the world will be healthy, happy and homed seems an impossible one. But where is the hope in that? And what does it have to do with us?

It’s nearly Christmas. And as I think of Christmas, I reflect on the most amazing story of God making a home among humankind. Jesus, living with real people and demonstrating God’s love in action; speaking out against the rich and powerful and speaking up for those on the edges of society, those who others look down on. If we have ears, we can hear that message still ringing out—love God and love your neighbour as yourself. That is what it has to do with us. If we hear that message and act on it, then we can bring hope to the homeless in our communities.

Happy Christmas!

Reverend Alison Ball
Chedgrave