Down at the mission on Christmas morning, with songs of praise leaking out the front doors and a blue sky shining its light back through, the men and women take their seats and listen to sermons given not just by the pastor, but the patrons, too.
But it’s the story of Christ’s birth, recited from the New Testament by Garrett Houser, a volunteer, that sets the mood.
Born in a manger, a boy is bequeathed to the world.
“It really speaks to me in a new way (as I get older),” Houser said later.
In his humanity, Christ gets “dirty to help with our troubles,” he added.
For Jerry Deyton, pastor of this modest-looking day shelter for homeless and the poor known as The Way, serving others comes as a calling.
“People consider this part of their earthly home,” he said.
Deyton thanked those in need who are humble enough to extend their hand for help. Everyone can be helped, after all.
“He's ready to fight your battles,” Deyton said, reflecting on how Christ has helped him. “He won’t walk away from you, that I know.”
And there’s no wishing away the trouble that lies ahead or behind. But there is prayer and fellowship like The Way houses.
That message is clear to Rico Bell, founder of Feed the Need Ministry in Hall County.
There would be food and more music and gift exchanges and good cheer this Christmas morning.
But Bell wanted to know one thing first: “What do we have to give?”