Posted by: Kerry Spencer | December 1, 2008

Kerry’s December newsletter

Greetings friends and family!


Some ponderings on Thanksgiving:


Traditionally, for me, Thanksgiving has meant family, food, and football (in that order of importance).  At our house, generally, the men sit around talking and watching football while the women make the preparations for the great feast in the kitchen.  In time, the call is given, someone says the blessing, and the great feast commences.  Turkey, ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, and much more . . . we all get so stuffed that we have to put dessert on hold.  We then fellowship and watch football a while longer until we find a little more room in our tummies for a sampling of the smorgasbord of desserts.  Then the turkey coma ensues.  I’ve always loved Thanksgiving because I love my family, I love food, and I love football (in that order). 


I spent most of this Thanksgiving Day in a homeless shelter.  In many ways, it seemed to be “just another day” for most of our guests.  Coffee and cereal for breakfast.  Many took showers as usual.  Some napped with their heads resting on our cafeteria tables.  Just another day . . . except for a big, traditional Thanksgiving meal for lunch.  This was our way of trying to make the day special.


I thought a lot about why folks would come here, to Jeff. St., for Thanksgiving.  I figure it’s because they don’t have anywhere else to go to enjoy family, food, and football.  That saddens me.


On Thanksgiving Day I happened to be the teacher for our daily Bible study.  At the end, I asked everyone what they were thankful for.  One of our residents responded: “I’m glad I’m not homeless anymore.”  Another added, “That God delivered me from drugs and alcohol.”  I am not used to these types of responses.  By the grace of God, I’ve lived a very privileged and protected life.  Hearing testimonies of those who have traveled much more grueling roads has caused me to be thankful that I’ve been blessed with a fairly smooth journey thus far.  The Lord has spared me so many trials and tribulations.  I am thankful for that.  But I am also thankful to serve a God who is a Rescuer, a Redeemer, and a Reconciler (Colossians 1:13-20) for those who struggle and stumble (which certainly includes me).  He often allows trials and tribulations to show His love, power, and glory by delivering us from them.


Throughout the day, when asked what they were thankful for, a number of our Day Shelter guests answered, “I’m thankful for just another day of life.”  So I’ve been thinking, maybe it is not such a bad thing that Thanksgiving was just another day for many of our guests.  Because another day is another day.  Each day is a blessing from the Lord.  “This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalms 118:24). 

Nonetheless, it is unfortunate and sad that some folks do not have a family to go to or a home in which to cook a Thanksgiving dinner.  But I am very thankful to be a small part of a place that provides services for those folks, even on Thanksgiving Day.  Jeff. St. is a place that tries to make “just another day” more manageable and enjoyable.  But more than that, Jeff. St. is a group of people who tries to introduce struggling and stumbling people to the God who rescues, redeems, and reconciles.  I am truly thankful to be a part of this ministry.


I hope that as we all progress through this Christmas season, we will first of all ponder what it is that we are celebrating – namely, the birth of Jesus, the Messiah.  The incarnation of God.  But secondly, I hope that we will ponder the plight of those for whom Christmas also will be “just another day.”  I hope we will also all seek ways to make this Christmas more meaningful and enjoyable for them.


  • Praise God for the staff and ministry of Jefferson Street Baptist Center.
  • Praise God for each day that He gives us.
  • Please pray for boldness and endurance as we seek to serve in word and deed with the love of Christ.
  • Please pray for us to make each day more meaningful for those we serve.


As always, thanks so much for your prayers and support of our ministry here at Jeff. St.  God has been so good to us.  Merry Christmas!

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