On Christmas Day, I had the privilege of witnessing our church and other volunteers do a great but simple thing in our community. It was as simple as providing a meal and as profound as making this Christmas a better day for many.
Some provided food. Others gave their time and energy to organize, set up and clean up. Still others arrived to assemble boxes full of this great food and/or delivered meals to shut-ins or to workers at the hospital, fire and police departments. It was quite a spectacle.
As we end one year and get ready to start another, I appreciate that less spectacular events are played out every day of every year in every community.
Every day, people work at hospitals, doing everything from treating injury and illness to cleaning patient rooms to filing insurance forms.
Every day, our public safety workers patrol or answer emergency calls, at great personal risk.
Every day, there are many others who make our communities good and safe places to live. They collect our trash, grow our food, deliver our mail, make or sell what we need. They teach our children, supply our power, offer their labor, operate government and courts, conduct research, and provide a myriad of other services.
Every day, volunteers give uncountable hours by offering their time, money, gifts and skills in education, religious communities, and healthcare. They feed the hungry, provide clothing, build and repair homes, care for the weak, bring clean water, and lift spirits.
Every day, the need continues. People get sick, they lose their jobs, go hungry, suffer a loss, lose their way, lack the basic necessities of life.
2009 has been a year of all these things: need and response. Sometimes we are on one side of that equation; sometimes on the other. 2010 and all the years to come will be the same. There’s a passage in Deuteronomy that addresses this: “Since there will never cease to be some in need on the earth, I therefore command you, ‘Open your hand to the poor and needy neighbor in your land.’”
Every day there is need. Every day we are called to open our hands.
May 2010 be a year when the need is lessened because more hands are opened. May it be a year when our eyes and hearts are opened as well.
At the end of this year, I give thanks to God that, though the need will never cease, there will also never cease to be people who respond to that need with their work, their prayers, their faith, and the love they show through their actions.
© Melissa Bane Sevier, 2009