Monday, December 23, 2013

When did I see you hungry?

After our English Carol Service last weekend, people hung around for fellowship and yuletide yummies. I was enjoying a super satisfying slice of shortbread and stimulating conversation when our pastor pulled me aside and I asked if I had any food prepared at home. Apparently, while English speakers were basking in the afterglow of the candlelight service, a young French girl with a baby had shown up hungry at the back door of the church. The stores were all closed. Christmas cookies wouldn't suffice.

Soak in the poignancy of that moment...I had just preached on the incarnation--God with us--and now I had the opportunity to practice it.

I bundled up, told David where I was running off to, and clip-clopped towards home in my high heeled boots. The boys, who had left church fifteen minutes ahead of me, were already reheating the homemade Chicken Noodle Soup that I had made the day before. Leftovers.

"Is there enough for three?" I asked.

When I told them why I needed a bowl of soup, they were eager to share. We scooped up steaming broth, veggies, chicken and noddles into a Tupperware bowl, and gathered some slices of bread and a few clementine oranges. It was a meager feast, but it was all I had.

And so the young mama ate that night.

We haven't heard from her since. Unlike in Paul Harvey's touching tales, in ministry, we rarely get "the rest of the story." We see the pain, we minister to the need, and we're left wondering if we really helped at all.

While I may never know what happened to the other girl in my story, I know what happened to this girl. This girl (who has never known a hungry day in her life) fed Jesus. In the midst of the celebration of his birth, I got the privilege of welcoming him into my ordinary life.

I pray and pray all through the Advent season that I would have a heart ready to receive him. But how often do I miss him when he comes?

I look for him among the stars, in angel choruses, and in the wrinkled pages of my Bible; I found him in the vulnerability of a hungry young mother.

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat...."

Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you...?"

“...whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."

Matthew 25: 34-40

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