Well, friends, ‘tis the season: the season of joy, the season of thankfulness, the season of love, the season of peace. . .it’s Christmas time! Honestly, Christmas is my favorite time of year. It’s a time for friendship, family, and reflection. I specifically love to reflect on the beautiful, crazy, radical love that came in the form of a human being—Jesus. He is the reason we celebrate, and he taught us so much through his life here on this crazy, messed up (but redeemable) planet!
This summer, I had the opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic with Healing Waters International. One of my favorite places was the community of Consuelo. In that community, there is a bakery called Belén, which is Spanish for Bethlehem. It was such a unique, unexpected reminder of Jesus’ life and work.
The people there had worked tirelessly to bring clean water to their community. They recognized their need for clean water because they desired to live healthier lives that had a sense of restored dignity. Dignity because they would be less likely to have water related illnesses, and dignity because they wouldn’t have to walk miles and miles for their water every day. In the same way, I realize that Jesus came here to be the living waters—and he is a well that never, ever runs dry! He came here to give us dignity, to give us purpose, to quench our thirst for acceptance, love, and companionship. Jesus can give us all this and so much more! We don’t have to travel miles and miles to meet with Jesus. . .he lives within us and offers to meet with us every day, if we will let him. His love never ends.
Also, because of the proceeds from the water store, the community members of Consuelo were able to open a bakery (Belén). The bakery not only provides delicious bread, but it also employs over fifty people in the community, giving them a sense of belonging, community, and purpose. I am reminded that Jesus is the bread of life. He came to sustain us, to fulfill us, and to make sure our physical needs were provided for. Bread in Jesus’ time was an essential staple to all people: it was simple to make and easily accessible. Jesus is a staple to our lives every day.
Jesus also came to help us discover the meaning of true community. He surrounded himself by twelve men specifically who walked with him, traveled with him, and just did day to day life with him. Also, a group of men and women who are unnamed in the Bible who also followed him from city to city hearing him preach and just doing life with him. He showed us true community, and the city of Consuelo models this so well. When young girl in their community tragically passed away from electrocution, the community banded together and installed electrical systems in their town. They truly live life together and care for one another.
The narrative of Jesus’ life and how it is modeled I am thankful to serve and to celebrate a savior who meets me exactly where I am every day. In my weakness, my failures, and my sufferings, he is still there. Just like when he came as a baby to the world to meet human beings where they were, he meets us still today. I hope that, today, you realize that you are so worthy of love and grace just because you are who you are—a child of God who wants to meet you wherever this holiday season finds you!