Advent celebrates the sending of Jesus Christ. He who has been sent will also be sent again to redeem all things.
This One who was sent to us also sends us.
He came to bring light to the world and sends us not to curse the darkness but to join Him in lighting candles along our way.
Since June, Jesus has been sending a group of individuals from our church in this way.
For reasons unknown – maybe drug use, maybe physical abuse, maybe neglect, maybe all three combined – one particular mother and father can no longer care for their two small children, a seven-year-old girl and a five-year-old boy.
Too young to know what questions to ask, too young to understand, the kids begin to settle into what could be a life that slowly darkens their small hearts.
The kids are taken from their parents to live with a couple that used to live next door.
They are cared for – given food and shelter – their basic needs met.
The couple are doing the best they can, but they never planned to have children and are simply feeling overwhelmed.
The man and the woman settle in for the night as the kids huddle together on the floor of their new, but empty, room.
Each of one of them cries themselves to sleep – the man, the woman, the little girl and the little boy – wondering how any of this could be.
The very next day a group of strangers arrive with a bed for the kids.
These are not really strangers…they are neighbors who care.
The neighbors chat with the adults about how things are going.
They talk with the kids about school and their favorite superhero.
Then kids are invited to help build their very own bed.
Soon, the bed is assembled, with new bedding in place.
For a room that sat empty has now been filled with warmth, comfort and smiles.
The new parents are relieved.
These neighbors have answered the question in the kids’ hearts … the question they couldn’t put into words.
These kids are seen, they are known, and they are loved.
Over 73 candles in the form of beds have been lit since June. And the light from each one pushes back the darkness in a child’s heart.
“…as He has been sent to us, so we are sent. May we receive the words of God for us today:”
Malachi 3:3 reminds us “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty.
Psalm 126 tells us…
“Then it was said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.
Those who sow with tears
will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with them.
As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
the rough ways smooth.
And all people will see God’s salvation.’”
If you are interested in volunteering with the PRC COSILoveYou team or you know someone who needs help, contact Luke. You can also like the PRCLoveYourNeighbor Facebook page to hear the stories and see photos of projects.