Outdoors was a winter wonderland as volunteers began to arrive in Pueblo to set up for the children’s Christmas party on December 9th. Soon the space was filled with tinsel, twinkle lights, and piles of gifts, and we waited to greet the families who would brave the snowy roads. Slowly, they arrived, many wearing tentative smiles along with their coats and hats. From infants not yet aware of how words like prison and arrest already marked their lives to teenagers well acquainted with the pain and hardship of those terms, they came.
The scope of New Horizons Ministries’ outreach was visible while the children enjoyed a warm meal, a Gospel presentation by Chaplain Scott, snacks and games, and the highlight of the event: a present specially selected for each child. These connections became apparent:
- Doulas with the ministry had assisted one of the baby’s mothers.
- The Thrift Store Division blessed families with gift certificates and brightened the space by furnishing much of the holiday decor.
- The Foster Care Division provided caring homes for several children over many years.
- Young adults from the Ascend youth discipleship program infused the games and activities with their cheerful energy to make the party a fun experience for the children.
- Chaplains had not only shared the hope of Jesus with prisoners but had also facilitated connections to NHM resources for prisoners’ children.
I was reminded how Isaiah 53 portrays a moving depiction of Jesus, seven hundred years before His birth. He is called “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” When you read these words, the prophecy takes a personal turn: “Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried.” Even in our wishing away of pain and suffering–for ourselves and others–it exposes a deep need for relief and rescue. My prayer is that children affected by incarceration will know Jesus the Savior and Jesus the Suffering Servant, born to live and die for them.