For us, it was a Christmas Eve unlike any other. For a quarter of a century, Christmas Eve meant multiple services celebrating with church family; then, heading home and celebrating with our immediate family.With three of our girls married, our family celebration was delayed until  the evening of Christmas Day. No longer committed to leading multiple Christmas Eve services in suburbia, we chose something different. Accompanied by our daughters, Spenser and Shadia, Diane and I visited the motels. We brought candles, Christmas carols and the love of the Christ Child in our hearts.We visited some friends, sang some songs, lit a few candles and prayed a few prayers. 

As is always the case in our urban parish, we met Jesus among those whom our world views as poor.Sometime I will share a few of the remarkable stories of that night, but for now, just this:  The places we visited, at the far edge of civilization, are more like the stable where Jesus was born than where we’ve normally spent Christmas Eve. Jesus was born into poverty, away from attention, among the littlest and the least. Even the shepherds, who we often romanticize, were known for being thieves and for smelling bad. But Jesus came there. In the motels, that seemed real in a new way. Jesus shines brightest in the darkest corners.

Which leads to one other thing: As we head towards the end of 2016, Diane and I are thankful beyond words for the place Jesus has called us. What started as a whisper from the Holy Spirit to start hanging out on East Colfax has led to a new chapter of our life.  We have a new ministry and many new friends.I would think that by this time in my life I wouldn’t be surprised by the radical places Jesus takes us, but I am. In less than a year, he has set Diane and I firmly in the middle of this community, one so different than the one we came from. We give him thanks for that and many other things.We are thankful for our family. We thank God for our 5 beautiful daughters, our 3 sons-in-law and our 3 grandchildren. They are all doing well, serving and following Jesus in their own corner of the world.

We are thankful for those of you who have loved us and cared for us, especially during the transition of the last few years. Thank you for your interest in Diane and our family and your interest in the work we now do with Jesus on Colfax Ministries. Your prayer support and your financial support have helped us find a new chapter. All of that makes us feel that we are carried on the wings of many who care for us. Pray for…Diane and I as we move into 2017. We are now in the fullest sense of the word missionaries to this odd and beautiful pocket of urban blight in North Aurora. 

We can only do the work we do full time because of your support. And, if Jesus should nudge you to also support us financially, we would be deeply grateful.All gifts are tax-deductible. If you still write checks, make it out to ‘Jesus on Colfax Ministries’ and mail it to:16748 East Smoky Hill RoadSuite 9C, Box 222Centennial, CO, 80015. You can also give online by going to our website:www.jesusoncolfax.org and click the “Give” linkChristmas Eve was a gift for us. In most of the rooms we visited, we sang a few verses of “Silent Night”. It was haunting and beautiful. Yet few of those we sang with knew the words. In that pocket of darkness, we felt we could bring some small piece of the good news of Jesus’ birth. Could anything be richer than that? Our prayer is that you too have seen Jesus this Christmas season and that you can live in the bright hope of knowing Jesus will be with you in 2017. 

Blessings,Shawn and Diane