A Message of Hope for Unprecedented Times
I love Christmas at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission. I call it “organized bedlam” — fun, loud and a little chaotic, but in the best possible sense … like watching children excitedly tear into their presents.
I don’t expect that Christmas cheer to change much this year. We may still be wearing masks and practicing social distancing, but not even COVID-19 can dampen the joy of the season.
What I do expect will change is the number of families coming for help. The local economy — especially the service industry — has been hammered by the loss of jobs due to the pandemic. Countless families are facing homelessness and hunger for the very first time, having lost so much because of circumstances largely out of their control. And yet, hope remains.
That’s what Christmas at MRM is all about.
We always aspire to see lives changed. Often, that begins by meeting someone’s immediate needs — usually food and shelter. While Christmas toys may not be as critical, they do help struggling families look beyond their circumstances to feel comfort and joy and a sense of community during the holidays.
Still, the most important message we’ll deliver this Christmas is the message of the Gospel.
For the precious souls who walk through our doors, it’s often a hot meal and a warm bed that begins their road to recovery — but it’s God who walks with them every step of the way, working everything for their good. We want everyone who walks through these doors to know that Jesus loves them. Jesus, whose birth in a manger, death on the cross and resurrection from the dead gave us the promise of eternal life in Heaven. All because of His great compassion for us! That’s a powerful message of hope, especially in these uncertain times.
And in these uncertain times, you are helping to share this hope. You are helping to transform lives! As you gather with family and friends to celebrate Christmas this year, please know that many of our neighbors have new hope and a future because of your kindness.
Thank you for helping fill the hearts of those in need during the holidays with the peace and joy of the season! May God bless you this Christmas!
Patrick H. Vanderburgh, D.Min.