We put out seeds in the old feeder for the birds and enjoy the theatrical show from the kitchen window and shoot them with glass lenses.
Front and centre, the chickadees flitter back and forth calling us 'hey sweetie', the sparrows and finches alternate between perching on the edge of the feeder and gleaning on the ground, and the wood-peckers tap, tap, tap.
The dark-eyed juncos prance and dance in the snow and the white-breasted nuthatches forage down the tree headfirst.
Bossy blue jays bully their way in and try to take over while the mourning doves sing and coo.
We catch only a glimpse of the hawk hiding high up in barren branches.
From off-stage, out there on a limb, the bright pair of shy cardinals swiftly glide in and out before their predator spots them, and then find safety in their shelter in the snow crested pine tree.
They all fly home.
"And Jesus said to him,
'Foxes have holes,
and birds of the air have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.'"
Now it's a name.
It's a loved one far from home but not far from our hearts.
It's not just a vagabond with vacant eyes.
Not just a beggar with a cardboard box and dirty clothes on top of a street vent.
Or the humblest creature hunched over a few coins.
It's family, a brother, a son.
A long lost loved one.
It's the least of these, our brothers living in the lowest means.
We look to heaven and pray he'll find his way home.
When homelessness has a name you look at the desperate with different eyes.
We offer the smallest token of God's love.
We extend hands, look deep into eyes to say God's loves you.
Offer a warm bowl of soup and a cup of hot coffee, maybe a sweet donut, on a bitter winter's day.
Step away and pray that it will be received as God's comfort in a cold world and that it will make our hearts bleed like Christ's even more.
When it hits close to home it can't be ignored.
In the words of William Wilberforce, " . . . you may choose to look the other way but you can never again say that you did not know".
We must look straight to the heart of the Messiah who left His home with His Father, chose the lowliest birth, and "was laid . . . in a manger, because there was no place for [him] in the inn".
The One who makes all things beautiful in His time, was a babe in a manger at the appointed time.
He knows homelessness. He bore it's name.
But in His redemptive plan he gave it a new name.
It's called Hope and it was birthed out of Mercy and Grace.
We're all homeless until we are called home. All without hope until we reach out in faith and take hold of His.
Living Hope in a manger to call the lost, wandering ones home.
Called us—now sojourners, pilgrims, temporary residents here on earth.
Those of us who have received mercy, who have found hope?
May our hearts break over what breaks His.
May our brothers who have no home, know His hope this Christmas.