Christmas Eve Evening Worship is a regular service for Alum Rock UMC every year. But, because this year it’s on Sunday—we decided to have Sunday morning worship at St James Park in downtown San Jose.
So on Christmas Eve, Alum Rock UMC celebrated Christ's birth in a way that we believe truly honored the Savior to come: by spending time with the hungry, cold and homeless. Throughout advent, we gathered supplies to create 'blessing bags' that we dedicated to one of our influential members that passed away a couple years ago, Lupita Diaz.
Santa Clara County has the largest concentration of homeless in the country. St. James Park is where our worship joined the homeless to share in this year’s Christmas gifts from God.
Armed with blessing bags filled with hand written Christmas Cards, daily living supplies, food and cash, and warm disaster relief blankets, our lives were changed as we took time to look into the eyes of those we passed out our bags to and wish them, sincerely, a Merry Christmas. We handed out over 70 blessing bags and blankets to appreciative receivers…and our humanity met face to face, and Immanuel was among us.
We may have brightened their holidays, but the gratitude and powerful testimony the homeless community showed us, have brightened our lives deeply, leaving us with much to think about on our way home as we prepared for our evening, candle light worship, where we handed-out blessing bags to worshippers so they too can be “hands and feet” of Christ.
The homeless, having very little, created a community of togetherness often saying they didn't need a bag and to give it to someone who needs it more. How might we, as a larger, bigger community be the same? That is the question. Alleluia. Amen.
Monica Jhunmel Aberin Ubungen, SPRC Chair/Lay Servant
Rev. Stephen Lee
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West Sacramento, CA 95691