Notes from Jan

Thoughts on Walls and Halls

December 13, 2018


Yesterday, after visiting friends at Brooksby Village,  beautiful residential and assisted living facility nearby, I found myself fascinated by ways owners identified their space along ribbons of hallways. Each door and shelf left clues about who lived inside.

Some identified with sports, others kept to the season with nativity scenes, some shared words.  One boasted: “Age is a number and mine is unlisted.”

Wending my way up and down covered and carpeted walkways between buildings, I met many tan and darker skinned employees.  When I’d ask for directions, I heard accents.  They weren’t from these parts. They were immigrants, trusted to care for our aging family and friends, the ill and helpless. It left me sick of heart at our growing fear of othersThey do the work many of us would not or could not do. We must be careful about erecting walls, in hearts, as well as along borders.

If the Wise Men, who came from afar, came today, would we accept them and their gifts?

If Joseph and Mary came to the borders of our towns, would they find sanctuary?

Angels, our better angels, according to President Lincoln, still remind us to “Fear Not.” Which takes me back to Luke 2, a bunch of losers tending sheep and a God with the audacity to entrust the Best news to marginalized people.

God’s Good News is why we need not live in constant fear.

“Unto you is born this day…

and any day we choose to welcome into our hearts,  the Good News, we have a Savior, Christ the Lord.


God with with us.

Hurrying down another hallway towards the lobby, I watched an elderly man, probably my age, work to propel his wheelchair up the carpeted ramp.

He shared a smile, worth the day, and said,”Just giving my arms some exercise.”

I smiled back, then headed outdoors to gulp fresh air,  wipe away tears from seeing life at some of its best and worst, like peeks into Bethlehem.

Who knows, one shared smile, under duress, could be his gift to Jesus.

And those fringe folks, men and women with darker skin from faraway places, may be some of the most blessed  among us,  God’s sheep tenders, undocumented angels with accents.








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  • Reply Dan Russ December 13, 2018 at 11:30 pm

    My mother-in-law, Betty Wall, passed on into our Savior’s presence November 2 in her 99th year of life. In the past five+ years a number of caregivers attended to her in her home, some of them nursing students from Africa, one from Mexico, another from the Philippines, and only two were Anglo Americans, born and bred. The latter two were the only ones who were negligent and self-centered, one of whom was finally let go for her lack of care. Those other women who were immigrants loved and cared for our Betty, talked with her, bought flowers for her, sang hymns with her, prayed with her, and deeply loved her. Those fringe folks were indeed the most blessed among us. Praise God!

  • Reply Elizabeth Payne December 14, 2018 at 1:31 am

    Oh Jan, I wish you could share this message in DC. None of us would be here if our ancestors had not immigrated.

    Were Joseph and Mary turned away at the inn perhaps because they were immigrants?

  • Reply Sue Andringa December 14, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    Dear Jan … in this sin sick world, thank you for some life giving words. God bless you, dear friend in this Advent season and a very” Merry Christmas ” to you and your family ! ❤️

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