As we enter the second of four weeks of Advent leading up to the big day, and as we continue our focus on the core value of ‘Intimacy with God’, I am reminded of the events surrounding the Santa Shuffle that happened this past weekend. As a reminder, Advent is the season in our Christian calendar where we wait and long for Christ’s final return; when everything that is wrong with the world will be made right. Advent is also meant to re-motivate us to fight for what is right while we wait.
The Santa Shuffle reminds me of that tension of ‘waiting’ and ‘doing’. The folks at Gateway, as well as the rest of our shelters, would love for everything to finally be made right. It would mean that no one would be homeless ever again. But while we wait and long for that day, we do everything we know how to do in this present time in order to combat homelessness. The shuffle is one of those things. It is a day to raise awareness of the issues and to raise some money in order to keep doing what we are doing.
I met with Jake, the Director of Gateway, last week in the lead up to the shuffle. It was a crazy busy day for him but he still made time for me. We talked about many things, one of which was the value of ‘Intimacy with God’ when it comes to running a shelter and getting ready for a big event like this. He told me that during the times when he feels too busy to pray and distant from God, things simply seem harder. But when he does take that time to cultivate some Intimacy with God, even in the midst of the busyness, things just seem to make a little bit more sense.
So he has spent time praying about the big event. He gives all the credit to Stacey, the volunteer coordinator at Gateway and the event manager, for running another flawless event. And He feels confident in saying that prayer has made a difference in the success of it. Around 1000 participants showed up to do the run. They made money to go towards keeping the Gateway drop-in alive for another year. Awareness was raised about Gateway, our shelters and the issue of homelessness. And most importantly, we observed God’s faithfulness to Jake and his team.
We saw the value of Intimacy with God through prayer.
We witnessed Advent, in all its complexity, play out in front of our eyes.
So in light of God’s faithfulness to us this Advent season, let’s keep on being ‘The Hand of God in the Heart of the City’ while we wait for that ultimate Christmas Day when everything is made right once and for all.
Dion Oxford, Mission Strategist
God of hope,
increase our strength of will for doing good
that Christ may find an eager welcome at his coming.