By David Cross
I think one of my fondest memories of Christmas Day came a few years ago when our family celebrated Christmas with the young people in the ZOE Transitional Home. The day had nothing to do with presents or food, but rather it was a day that as one big family we thanked God for the gift of Jesus Christ, and we spent the day hanging out and enjoying each other’s company.
Each person that gathered that day, had their own story of their life before coming to ZOE. Some stories were of incredible hardship. Some were of spending past Christmases alone. But all of that was in the past; the future was full of hope.
We talked, we laughed, we played games, we encouraged each other, we prayed together, and as we did, it reminded me of what it really means to be ‘family’.
Last week, one of the ZOE parents invited all the ZOE children, who are now young adults, to a ZOE Christmas Reunion Party. It was so amazing to sit back and see the love and care that these young people have for each other. They are each other’s family. Many of them, after securing a good job, also helped their brother or sister get a job at the same shop or restaurant. They had all brought gifts for the gift exchange and there was not a moment of silence as the ZOE parents excitedly caught up with the children that they cared for.
The highlight of the night came as some of the young adults took the opportunity to stand up and share their heartfelt thanks for the teaching, support, and unconditional love that they had received whilst at ZOE. As they spoke tears flowed from their eyes. Their sharing was from their heart.
Their words reminded me of what it means to be ‘family.’
We love each other. We help each other. We support each other. We correct each other. We pray for each other. We comfort each other. We celebrate each other.