Last week,  more than 250 families showed up at my church seeking help. They stood in the rain, some of them waiting hours,  for a few bags of groceries.  These families represented almost 1000 people from my community. As we got to the end of the line, we started to run out of food and the last 20 families only got tomatoes. Most of our guests seemed grateful for what we could give.

50 volunteers and a few hundred bucks went a long way towards offering folks a little hope. Hope for the people seeking help came in the form of some daily bread. For me, hope was dispensed by witnessing a community of people I love sharing a little time and energy to make a difference in the lives of others.

Last night, I attended the Flint Holiday Festival with some  friends.  I know, you’re thinking about the story you heard about Flint being one of the most dangerous cities in America or something about how officials are thinking of shrinking the city to account for the mass exodus of people seeking employment, but that’s not the whole story. There is much to be hopeful about in Flint and the Holiday Festival was a glimpse into what energized people can do to make a difference in their community.

Church choirs sang carols under the city lights. It was a beautiful sight. Kids from a neighboring community served hot cocoa on the sidewalk. Marching bands stomped down the bricks bringing Christmas cheer. Hundreds of kids shared their hopes and dreams with Santa Claus. Local artisans packed their goods into a salon and a yoga studio to help kids who fall through the cracks of the social service system. People ate great pizza and had drinks with friends. The city was alive in spite of all the negativity that is often associated with the Vehicle City. It’s not always easy to sort through the ugly to find the good but it’s worth it.

Hope is all around if we are willing to open our eyes and our hearts. Will you join me in looking for glimpses of hope this holiday season?

    • Jan
    • December 1st, 2010

    Nicely written Jason. I agree with you about Flint – so MANY negative opinions, yet just recently we’ve had 2 occasions to be downtown “after hours” and have enjoyed the atmosphere. The improvements are so impressive – the Durant, Blackstone’s, 502 Grill just to name a few. Brad & I plan on venturing there more often. And yes…we join you in looking for HOPE this season & not seeking out things to be critical of. Blessings to you!

  1. Thanks for writing, Jan. I’m glad to hear that you have enjoyed your experiences Downtown lately. It’s a beautiful thing to see people around!

    “May your days be merry and bright.”

    Love, Jason (channeling his inner-Bing)

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