“For with God nothing will be impossible.”- Luke 1:37
The past few weeks we have been busy tying up loose ends. The ministry takes a short break during the Christmas season. We decided to visit some of the homeless teens and children that are presently incarcerated in Juvenile Detention Center. This would be the hardest time for them. One of the boys we visited was Bruno. He is fifteen years old and has spent most of his life in the streets. He was born into a family that lives in the streets. I am almost certain that we worked with his mother when she was a teenager about eighteen years ago. Bruno is very calm boy who loves to draw and he does a wonderful job at it. Unfortunately, there are not many options for Bruno once he leaves the detention center. He cannot go home because his family deals in drugs aggressively. He prefers to be in a homeless shelter than in his home even though he would never say anything negative about his family. He has been in the detention center for almost two years. According to the guards and social workers, he is the most well-behaved teenager there. They like him because he does not cause any problems and is good-natured. It is hard not to like him. I was asked to give a short devotional message during this visit. I thought a Christmas message would be appropriate. The message of Christmas must say something important to someone like Bruno. Not just Bruno but all the people we visited these past few weeks. We visited the families of some of the young boys that have decided to return home. All of them live in situations of extreme poverty. We visited the family of Maicon who was recently released from the detention center. He is thirteen years old. His family of six had been living in a small one room plywood shack with no bathroom. They had been using plastic grocery bags for their bathroom needs. They recently decided to squat in an abandoned house. It has been abandoned for years in this tropical climate and it is old and musty. To make matters worse, part of the house is used by drug lords as a distribution center. However, this place is a step up for this family. Apart from Maicon, the rest of the children are from ages 7 to 11 years. Maicon did not last long in this environment. He succumbed to the drug dealing and is presently incarcerated for drug dealing. His younger siblings are not sure if they can dream of a better life. The Christmas of Santa Claus and exchanging gifts is meaningless to them. It is a Christmas fantasy of the middle class. Only the true message of Christmas can say something meaningful to these children of God.
The greatest surprise of Christmas is that God comes into our reality. In most pagan religions or even popular religious sentiments, people pray to God or the gods to help them change or escape their situations. God chose to face the harsh reality of our situations. He chose Mary to be his mother. A young girl whose life prospects were limited. She was most likely an orphan and poor. Her only hope was to be married and become a mother. She had no pretensions of doing anything else than living out this humble and limited existence. Joseph was a kind older man who was willing to rescue the Virgin orphan girl and give her a home. These people had limited perspectives but they are remembered today all over the world. They will be remembered even after we are gone. One person transformed the meaning of their life. Jesus did not change their situation but he changed the significance of their existence. They were no longer limited to the temporal or cultural roles given to them. They were given new roles in the eternal plan of God. Jesus came to transform the meaning of our life.
We don’t have anything to offer to these people this Christmas. No presents that we can give that would change the meaning of their life. Only God can give them a gift that would change the meaning of their existence. God does not change our situation but He gives us a new meaning for our existence through His Son Jesus Christ. When we discover this new meaning for our lives through the person of Jesus, then we will know that nothing can steal the joy of Christmas from our hearts.
Have a Blessed Christmas.