Merry Christmas everybody! What a “Christmas Eve” night it was for the Care-A-Van crew, even though it isn’t Christmas Eve yet, but the spirit was in the air for our Homeless friends.

At our first stop, our “friends” were gathering as we arrived and while we and got our resources in place, while they stood around chit-chatting and waiting for our prayer together.  Because it just a few days before Christmas, we opened with a devotional about the “reason for the season” Jesus Christ; His birth, Life and Death, and concluded with letting them know, they have His gift available, and all the needed to do was unwrap it. By the time we finished praying, several other people had joined in our circle, and at the final amen they applauded and thanked us for the story and prayer.  After that, it was like a family get-together; everybody was laughing and talking; some were getting socks and others blankets, or hygiene products, snacks, and of course a cup of hot soup, coffee, and taquitos.  Off to one side were three ladies from our group praying for a homeless women who needed prayer.   On the other side was one of our Board members prayed for a woman who was crying her eyes out.  The more he prayed, the more she cried.  Everybody was shaking hands and hugging one another and wishing each other a Merry Christmas.  Man, this is family, I thought to myself.

An older gentleman slowly walked over to me and greeted me with Merry Christmas and as we shook hands, he handed me an envelope that looked like it might be a Christmas card, and that well known lump began to form in my throat.  He timidly said it was from all the people and they just wanted to tell us thanks.

His white hair and wrinkled dry skin, rough hands and well worn poorly fitting clothes spoke loudly to me, of hard times, missed baths and meals, and probably drug or alcohol abuse, and a whole lot more.  But the sincerity in his feeble voice and the look in his eyes made me choke back the tears which began welling up behind the Hoover dam in my eyes.  We conversed for a while, and then he turned and walked over to get a cup of soup and coffee.  As I watched him walk away, I humbly opened the card and it read, “Thank you from our hearts for everything you have done for us.  Very much appreciated.  Happy Holidays from all of us.  We love you.”  After a couple minutes  and a few deep breaths, I returned to the family get-together for our last good-bys and Merry Christmas’ …till’ next week.  Driving to the next location I reflected on this Christmas card we had just received and knew that of all the Christmas cards we received this year…this was the greatest.

jh rilling