Today’s Advent reflection was written by Edith Yoder, Executive Director of Bridge of Hope an organization that creates a three way partnership between single mothers, social workers and church based mentoring groups. Edith’s spiritual journey includes a deep sense of call to engage and equip churches in ending homelessness for single mothers and children. She authored The Mentor’s Resource Guide, a training tool which helps equip caring Christians for an effective ministry of friendship with homeless families.
“Advent is not a time to declare, but to listen, to listen to whatever God may want to tell us through the singing of the stars, the quickening of a baby, the gallantry of a dying man.”
– Madeleine L’Engle
The Christmas season began this year for me with a funeral and a birth. At the beginning of Advent we celebrated the birth of our third grandchild. Makenzie was welcomed into the world by loving parents, her big brother, and a joyful extended family. My stepson and his family live in Corpus Christi, Texas and so my waiting this Advent season means waiting to hold this precious new baby for whom I have already made lots of room in my heart!
But last week was also the funeral of long-time Bridge of Hope ambassador and co-founder of Bridge of Hope Harrisburg Area, Joyce Eby . Joyce was a social worker who lived a life of service to Christ and who cared deeply about homeless single mothers and children. Joyce also lived a courageous life, giving of herself even as she faced cancer.
These two events – a birth and a death – have put this Christmas season in a new light for me. This season, as I embrace Makenzie’s new life and say goodbye to Joyce, I recognize anew the implications of “making room” for others. Making room for others means opening ourselves up to sharing in both the joys and the sorrows of life.
Advent is about making room, both in the physical sense – Mary, Joseph and the newborn Jesus needed a physical place to stay – and also in a spiritual sense – making room in my heart for this Christ child who is the Savior of the world. My life is enriched when I truly make room for each person and family I encounter, whether housed or homeless, single mother or two-parent family.
I am grateful for the ministry of Bridge of Hope which values each life, each homeless mother and child that we walk with and serve. While once-homeless single mothers in Bridge of Hope often continue to struggle to pay bills and provide a safe physical home for their children, they can rest assured that their mentors are walking with them and have, indeed, made room in their hearts for them.
May this Advent be a time when you catch a glimpse of the possibilities that abound when we allow God to make room in our hearts for our own family – as well as homeless families.