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For several years now at the Meldrum site of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen we have tried to really focus on the weeks of Advent (the forty days leading up to Christmas) as a time of expectancy, hope, and waiting. The tree enjoys a place of prominence in the dining room, but undecorated and unlighted. The scripture readings from the Prophet Isaiah used at prayer sessions are filled with hope and longing for a better life, not only for the people of biblical times, but for our Soup Kitchen guests as well. We try to counter the commercial frenzy of the season with an emphasis on cleansing our hearts and making room for the coming of our God.
May God give you peace! Christmas hope and joy to you in these exciting, and sometimes stressful, days before Dec. 25th!
At most of our sites, these days present more challenges than usual with the holiday hype we experience all around us. Do you find it hard to be patient? On my desk, I have a card entitled: “Ten Ways to deal with Stress.”
Meanwhile, as we think about the season and its meaning, I’d like to offer a thought that comes out of one of our recent prayer sessions at Meldrum. The theme that day came from Matthew’s gospel story of the 10 talents that a master gave to each of three servants. He later came back to see what they did with what he gave them. Our question for discussion from the gospel story was: “What talent do you appreciate within yourself?
As I ponder the numerous invitations to buy gifts to make someone happy this season,I think of all the imagination and creativity of the children and youth at the Capuchin Soup Kitchen. Sure, they love to buy but even better, they love to make. I’ve loved this autumn season when they made soup from the last of the garden, decorated pumpkins without the help of a knife and designed Thanksgiving placemats for a nursing home up the street.
This Thanksgiving season as I enter into my final weeks as Executive Director of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, my heart is filled to overflowing for all I have experienced in this position during the past eleven and a half years. I have been forever changed by the people I have met.
First of all, I am grateful for the guests of the Soup Kitchen, who have taught me about poverty, racism, faith, and gratitude. (“How are you this morning?” I ask, as I arrive for another day of work. “I’m blessed,” is the inevitable response. “I woke up this morning.” I know full well that they might have woken up in a cold, abandoned house—but they are “blessed.” What a lesson for me.