Our guests were greeted with the aroma of cooking bacon. The hall was filled with immaculately set tables. The air was filled with music and a sense of excitement pervaded the environment. A group of 25+ volunteers were about to experience the joy of Christmas along with our 120+ guests. This is what we had all prayed for and worked so hard for! The time flew as each person was served; Belgian waffles with whipped cream and strawberries, scrambled eggs and bacon, juice and coffee and tea. Most guests had more than one helping!
But before the meal began we started with a short powerful video of Michael W. Smith’s “This Child”. I spoke, briefly, connecting the “no room for them in the inn” with “He came to his own but they did not receive Him, but to as many as received Him, to those who believe on His name, He gave power to become the children of God.” After a challenge to ensure we have “made room for Him” we said grace and the “Feast of Christmas” began.
Up Town had missed Byran while he had been away at university in St. John’s but he was back at his post behind the keyboard for this event. He and his dad Will played throughout the meal while Byran’s mom Venus organized us all!
Each person was given a gift of a box of chocolates and a $10 gift card.
The room was full of laughter and warm fellowship. In one corner we had a photographer who took folks’ pictures and printed them off right there. This is a wonderful blessing! I remember going to an Up Town friend’s funeral where they showed a slide show of her life which consisted of 2 pictures. I remember feeling a mixture of sadness and anger that this should be. I am glad that this event can help add at least one more happy photo to peoples’ ‘life slide show’.
On the way out as guests said good bye they were able to sort through a variety of hats and mittens which were knit for just such an occasion.
The cleanup (which I usually dread) took no time as the volunteers stayed until every last dish was done and table put away!
We have already begun to plan for next year. We hope to have 2 sittings and a bus to pick up and drop off guests. It was a great celebration of the birth of he who came “not to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many.” It is our hope that the seeds sown in such service will bear fruit that will last as we continue to walk with our friends, through the coming year. This is our vocation as Street Hope Saint John
Thanks to all those who prayed. Please continue!