Home for most of us is a special place. There are many quotes that reflect its specialness. For example

                             ‘There’s no place like home.’

                             ‘Home is where the heart is.’

                             ‘Home is a shelter from storms.’

                             ‘Home is where you feel safe.’

    Home is mentioned often in the Bible. Jesus was invited into people’s homes – Zacchaeus, Simon Peter, Mary and Martha to mention a few. He ate meals, healed and taught people in homes. He was surprised by a paralysed man on a mat in one home and a woman with an alabaster jar, full of perfume, in another. He broke bread in a home in Emmaus, showing that he is with us even now in our own homes, when we invite him in.

    I came across ‘Jesus’ in Hoddesdon town centre recently, one evening, sitting by the entrance to Tesco’s store, a few carrier bags at hand, his only belongings I guess. He looked a little unkempt, sad and alone. It was quite unexpected, an unusual sighting as it seemed that the welfare state had looked after people like him during the pandemic and would continue to do so. But no, the latest estimate of the numbers of people living on the streets in London is 11,000 individuals.

    Rightly or wrongly I fished in my pocket for a little money, tossed it to him with a ‘God bless’, aware that you need to be careful if you are not wearing a face mask and Jesus isn’t either. I returned to my own home, knowing that I have far too much and he has far too little. I thanked God for diverting my thoughts from my own comforts – I had no intention of going into the town centre when popping out to find some tea bags. Obviously God had something to show me.

    Broxbourne winter night shelter is not going to run this year. The council are planning to support anyone that is homeless. We are asked instead to help with starter kits for those who are being housed in the local area. Obviously in the big cities it is a different story. The work of charities, such as Shelter and Crisis is very much in need. So do support them as you are able.

    Thank God for your own home. Make use of your home whenever you can, not only to welcome Jesus, and others, but to help grow God’s church and God’s kingdom, to reach out to those who have far less than you. Ask God to show you how. Be imaginative and be creative. Be open to possibilities.

Jill Nugent