And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11 KJV
Saturday there is a neighborhood Christmas get-together or maybe it will be breakfast with Santa at the church. Then there are the kids coming the following week-end with the grandchildren just before that Christmas caroling at the nursing home. Wow! If you are anything like me your schedule is busy so then why should we even consider packing in nursing home ministry on top of everything else?
Every Wednesday we receive a copy of a local paper that we do pay for, do not like and rarely read. In fact every home in our neighborhood gets a copy tossed into our driveways. The owner of that newspaper is determined that everyone in our community will receive a copy of the news. Our good news about Christmas is for all kinds of people: not just our family, our friends or our church. God’s good news need not be just for people who are waiting for the morning delivery, It is also for those who least expect it.
Because Christmas is about Good News for all people we should always remember those who need good news the most in our community. Statistics tell us that 70% of nursing home residents will not receive a visit from friends or family members even at Christmas. But statistics can not tell you of the tears of joy flowing down faces of people when you bring even the tiniest bit of the love of God during this Christmas season. They will leave a mark like indelible ink on your soul.
Last we need to consider Christmas as the ideal moment because Jesus loves to enter where the doors are open. He wasn’t welcome in the palace of Herod. He wasn’t born in the nicest home in Bethlehem. In fact even the worst hotel in town had no occupancy for our Savior. But in a manger with cattle and sheep he was given a place and there shepherds, wise men and Mary and Joseph worshiped and wondered at the birth of our Lord!
So why should we consider nursing home ministry this Christmas? Maybe the best question of all might be – why not?
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. Luke 6:38 KJV
As I round the corner on over twenty three years of nursing home ministry I have now decades of precious memories of hundreds of people whom God has given me the privilege to serve. I have preached to them my best sermons, sung to them my best songs and shared with them my most intimate feelings and yet can say without hesitation that I have received far more than I have given.
I have learned that a loving heart far outlasts a sharp mind.
I have discovered that vision far is sharper than eyesight
I have entered into friendships that outlast personal failures
I have learned that God is faithful to remember us
That our names are written on the palms of His hands
His greatest gift is received when we have nothing to give
His grace patiently carries us all the way up Calvary’s hill.
When we meet in His city every tear will be wiped away
Every weakness made strong
Every sickness made whole
And every sorrow tuned into joy!!