A Christmas Message of Hope from Gary Bishop, CEO

Advent reminds us of the great power and importance of HOPE. The Christmas story is set in a time and place of political, social and economic turmoil, an era in which generations of people had learned to cling to the HOPE that the Messiah would come and that the future might just be better than the past.

HOPE is often misunderstood as an understated, nebulous sentiment which somehow lacks the certainty of belief but it is far more than that. As much as food and water it is necessary, essential for life, for when all hope is gone then the drive for living ebbs away and we give up.

Earlier this year the Justlife team wrote a list of the behaviours which we believe describe our culture and make us who we are as an organisation. One of those behaviours is: 

‘We carry hope for ourselves and others.’

This is such an important aspect of the work we do with very vulnerable homelesss people who have often lost everything, who have been let down by those who should have cared for them and failed by a system which cannot or will not understand the challenges they face. 

I’m so proud of every member of our team who somehow, every day, fill their bag with HOPE and take it to places where there is none. It is in the carrying and sharing of HOPE that miracles happen as broken people can take one more step, live one more day, make one more housing application, attend one more appointment in the belief that tomorrow might be better than today.

So in a time which is marked by many of the political, social and economic uncertainties which surrounded the first Christmas I invite you to take the advice of my friend Jill Rowe who wrote in her recent Advent blog: 

‘Today let’s kick at the darkness until it bleeds daylight. In fact, let’s pursue light at every turn. Let’s find the way of love and walk in it. Let’s stand for justice and for mercy. And let’s make peace – not just pray for it. Let’s walk with those who have walked alone for far too long. Let’s welcome the stranger. And love our enemies’

And … let’s continue to carry HOPE which changes everything.

Thank you so much to all our team, our trustees and supporters for everything you’ve done to change the world for those who you have met throughout this year of 2018, the year in  which we celebrated 10 years since Justlife was born. It is a privilege to serve with you – thank you and well done! I wish you all a very happy and peaceful Christmas and a HOPE filled 2019.