I have experienced a deep connection to the wonder, awe, and mystery of Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember.
The dramatic side of me often wonders who I would be in the story of Christmas today.
- Even though I was Jesus in the church pageant when I was 6 weeks old, I don’t often feel Divine.
- Mary and Joseph impress me beyond belief with their resilience and determination to make it work. I don’t know if I have enough fortitude.
- The Wise Wanderers amaze me, but I have no sense of direction and I am a terrible gift giver.
- Heavenly Hosts? I can carry a tune, but there are some other requirements I don’t meet.
- Maybe a shepherd. I lived beside a dairy farm growing up.
Who would you be?
In most of my experiences with newborns, people spend a lot of time making room and preparing for the arrival of the new baby. On some level, that exists in our traditional telling of Jesus’ birth and the time leading up to it.
Except Mary had to ride a donkey and walk a long way from home to a land that wasn’t hers—in a world that did not approve of her soon-to-be-born illegitimate child and denied them a place to stay.
Who was the person was who finally responded to the tugging of heartstrings and offered their stable? Who was the person who ultimately gave shelter and warmth and protection…perhaps not the perfect and most comfortable situation, but at least a safe place to embrace new life?
I know who you would be.
We don’t hear much about the owner of the stable, but it’s easy to picture you as that person. Like them, you are a person who saw and responded to a need with what you have. You are someone who helps My Refuge House be the safe place that can help our girls embrace their new life.
I was thinking about all of this a couple weeks ago when Rose Ann (our Director of Program Administration at My Refuge House) told me about the reflection and emotional reaction she shares below. As Rose Ann was telling me her story, it struck me that we are all key players in the Christmas Story of today.
~Heather Bland, My Refuge House CEO
She could have been…
Last week I spent some time reflecting about 2016. My reflection did not come easily at first until one morning after reading an article from New York Times about recent drug- related killings in the Philippines. There were pictures vividly showing dead bodies of those who were killed including a young woman’s dead body thrown right next to an electric post.
That young woman’s body could have been one of our girls at MRH.
She could’ve been Stephanie, Nicole or Shane.
She could’ve been Ashley, Jessica or Jacky.
She could’ve been Cindy, Chloe or Loren.
She could’ve been Kim, Alexandra or Faith.
She could’ve been Mandy, Maggie or Amber.
Then I started crying real hard.
The thought brought me to tears because that young girl could have been one of our happy girls at My Refuge House had they not been rescued. Knowing the stories of our girls, I know that most of them were into drugs in their past. Even the thought of seeing one of our girls shot made me cry so hard. I cannot imagine myself walking in the streets of Cebu and seeing one of them shot and killed.
That day I realized how much I love and value my work. I felt so privileged having the chance to work with these angels’ lives because I know we are saving one life at a time from being shot, from being killed, from being thrown away to the streets.
We did not save that young girl near the electric post.
We cannot save the entire world from all the killings and abuse.
We cannot reach out to all the abused children, men and women.
We can save and restore other young girls’ lives within the walls of My Refuge House.
I feel blessed and thankful about this during Christmas.
This is my purpose.
This is WHY I am here.
To restore one life, just one life, at a time.
~Rose Ann Obenque, Director of Program Administration
A Christmas Prayer
from the 2006 UCC Las Posadas Liturgy
Holy God of the wandering pilgrims, the refugees and immigrants of the world, those seeking safety and refuge, those searching for a better life for themselves and their families, those hoping to taste God’s grace in the midst of judgement, intolerance, cruelty, and violence, we pray for room at the Inn. We pray that we might see the faces of Mary and Joseph in each stranger we encounter. We pray that we greet them as we would greet ones who would bear Christ to us. For every weary traveler during this holy season, we pray for a place to rest. For every person who finds themselves homeless and fearful, we pray for shelter. For every man, woman and child fleeing from the terrors of war or persecution, we pray for safe refuge. For every lost soul seeking a glimpse of God’s grace, we pray for open doors, outstretched arms, and extravagant welcome! In the name of Jesus, we pray! Amen.
One. is our latest project of Love from My Refuge House. It is a music album representing the many stakeholders, staff, and girls who believe in and are on the healing journey with My Refuge House. We are one with our girls. Music represents our shared hope.
Click here for our album page where you can preview, download, and make a donation to support the album.
Enjoy. Be inspired. Feel uplifted
We at My Refuge House hope you have a Christmas and New Year
full of wonder and joy.
You have blessed our lives beyond measure.
Please click here to make your end of year tax-deductible gift today!