Gifts
Over The River and Through the Wood
The First Noel

Love Warmly

Love Warmly darkerAbove all, love each other warmly, because love covers many sins. Welcome each other as guests without complaining. Each of you as a good manager must use the gift that God has given you to serve others. Whoever speaks must speak God’s words. Whoever serves must serve with the strength God supplies so that in every way God receives glory through Jesus Christ. Glory and power belong to Jesus Christ forever and ever! Amen.

-1 Peter 4:8-11 GOD’S WORD Translation

A funny thing happens when you dare to teach or write about God’s Word – often when you think you’re teaching others, God flips it, and you find yourself getting schooled. I would say that was the theme for the Jahromi household last weekend.

As we sat sipping hot tea, bundled up from head to toe in hats, scarves, sweaters and fuzzy socks under fuzzier blankets held down by cold kitties we wondered what on earth could have happened to cut power to our furnace. As the temperature grew colder, our hopes sunk lower, as our HVAC guy confirmed that the furnace, heat pump and breaker box were all functioning. The problem was with the power lines. Somehow only a small bit of power was coming through, not enough for the furnace, the well pump, the hot water heater or the oven to work. After hours of waiting for a BGE crew that never came, we threw an extra blanket on the bed and went to sleep.

The morning brought temperatures below freezing. We bundled up even more and had coffee. As I sat there, finding it hard not to shiver, I realized I had not been thinking about the lack of heat, nor the unflushed toilets or microwaved meals. Instead, I was very thankful to have a small amount of power, hot coffee, a fireplace, a case of bottled water and food to eat. I was confident that it would all work out somehow.

But I became very aware that for some people, perhaps even in the Hereford Zone, perhaps some of our Food Bank clients, this was their everyday life. As Food Bank director, I had just paid to put fuel oil in two families’ homes. Another client had just received a BGE Turn Off notice. A single mother and her child were referred to us by the school counselor because they were facing eviction. If it weren’t for our Food Bank, many families would have to choose between buying groceries or paying the bills. I’ve never had to make that choice. Not really.

There were times we had to subsist on spaghetti and hot dogs until the next paycheck came. I can remember searching the sofa cushions for change for the bus or being a few dollars short in the checkout line and having to put something back with the kids looking on. Times of deprivation can make us more empathetic and compassionate towards others experiencing hardship. They are certainly ways to increase our gratitude for the blessings in our lives. Perhaps they can be a call to be more generous with the time and money we have now.

We had to come to church un-showered, but not unwashed. It was humbling. But more humbling were the offers of spare rooms, electricians’ phone numbers, loaned generators and prayers. At home, just as we had given up on BGE for the weekend, a bucket truck backed into the driveway. Turns out our electrical meter was rusted and broken. A few hours later a crew arrived and had it all installed, fixed and up and running before the final touchdown of the Raven’s game. God is good, all the time. The warmth of those kind offers and prayers is still keeping me cozy.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, even when things look bleak and times are hard, help me to focus on the many blessings in my life. Even when times are good and blessings are numerous, help me to humbly remember to bless and serve others with the gifts I have received. Help me to give thanks in all circumstances, for this is Your will for me in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Raising Grateful Praise,

Jen

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