This is national Nursing Home Week and I wanted to take this day to remember the many staff members who have sacrificially helped out and have given so much to make our outreach possible. If you are one of these people I want to say a big heart felt THANK YOU and God Bless!!!
Thank you for bringing residents to our meetings every week, year after year.
Thank you for taking time to bring us to the rooms of people needing an extra prayer
Thank you for encouraging the residents to sing and by singing along
Thank you for special cards and gifts that made us feel appreciated and loved
Thank you for your gentle and sometimes funny way of dealing with unlovely situations
Thank you for (almost) never complaining
Thank you for the flexibility of allowing us to meet out in the garden when the dining room was being remodeled!
Thank you for reminding us of the residents’ birthdays so we can make them feel special
Thank you most of all for being co-laborers with us in the work of taking care of even the least of these in the world’s eyes because every one of them matters to Jesus Christ!
But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14
Often lost in the whole pro-life/ pro-choice debate is the heart of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the defender of life but we must not be so focused on life beginning at conception; that we forget it doesn’t end at birth. In God’s eyes; life is not only about its opening chapter, but also about its closing lines. The same Savior, who writes down the name of every child in His book also offers to carry each of us in His arms to the very end. Where we stand on the issue of life is not only about what we say, but more importantly is about what we do. How we chose to invest our time and hearts in the lives of others will reap returns for all eternity. What better pro-life statement can we make than to serve the real people in our own small corner of this world from conception to their final breath?
Even to your old age, I am He, and even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you. Isaiah 46:4
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?
While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease. Genesis 8:22 ESV
Even though here in the North East we have had some April snows this year it is certain that warmer days are ahead soon. With our Easter nursing home program in the rear view mirror now is a great time to begin planning a Summer visit. Summer is a great time to bring in young people because they are off from school. There are still things like family vacations, trips to the park and sports to compete for their time but this is a good opportunity to bring in volunteers who couldn’t be a part of our Christmas or Easter presentations.
If you are wondering what to do here are a few ideas.
Focus on July 4th – Have kids tell what they are thank God for in our country
Mix in songs like God Bless America, America the Beautiful and the Battle Hymn of the Republic. This usually gets our residents singing along with us! I also open up the program for the young people to sing a few of their own favorite worship songs together. Even though the seniors may not know these they are blessed just to see the excitement and joy of youth praising God. As we always do don’t forget to allow time for visiting afterwards. The last few years one young lady has been delighted to bake cookies to hand out. We just check with the staff before giving out food to make sure of what is allowed for individual residents. Another young person is getting credit towards acceptance into the National Honor Society for her work visiting seniors. Have any ideas of your own? Let us know! Have a blessed week in Christ.