Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: REFLECTION (10/10/19)
- TITLE: Hobo Thanksgiving
By Edy T Johnson
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Sleepy children, drawn from bed by the aroma of food, we stopped short. The front hall staircase led into the living room, where we could see through the dining room to the kitchen. Before the sight registered in our sleepy heads, our morning-lark papa came flying toward us. His sunshiny smile broke into words:
"I've been feeding Jesus with our Thanksgiving leftovers! And, He sure has a big appetite!"
What a delight we were off school for the holiday weekend and got to witness this unusual encounter! We were stopped in our tracks, sure enough. Although the profile of the figure we saw seated at the end of the kitchen table resembled a big white-haired and bearded Santa Claus rather than paintings of Jesus, we understood what Papa meant.
In our small town world, we sometimes encountered transient hobos looking for a sandwich. However it began, these men hopped upon freight trains for free transportation. While I never wondered about them as a child, perhaps the root of their wanderings might have sprouted during the poverty of the Great Depression we'd heard about from parents and grandparents in their conversations. Even though I now relish being a word detective, at the time I just accepted what crossed my path without question.
Who were these "hobos," and how did they get that name? Surprisingly, my search leads back to the post Civil War era. And, nobody seems to know for sure where the name originated. Many theories have been advanced, however.
Men looking for farm work followed the harvest, someone suggesting the name was originally "hoe boy" (did they carry with them an implement to show they were serious about working?). Another possibility was a simple greeting: "Ho, boy!" Or, could it have been a short cut for "HOpping BOxcars?" Some claim it's a reference to Hoboken, New Jersey, where several railroad lines converged, making the location a logical gathering place for vagabond passengers.
It's fun to dig, fun to speculate about puzzles in our life. And, it can be a continual source of entertainment to reflect on mysteries we come across over the years. But, we can be sure to find the deepest reflections in God's true Word.
Mother Teresa is quoted as saying, â€œI see Jesus in every human being. I say to myself, this is hungry Jesus, I must feed him. This is sick Jesus. This one has leprosy or gangrene; I must wash him and tend to him. I serve because I love Jesus.â€
We seek to break down barriers that separate us from sisters and brothers and strangers. If we look for Jesus in every face we see, and minister friendship, compassion, even leftovers, we may not impact the world, but it is a start in the right direction, one to one, turning the world upside down.
"And we all, with unveiled faces reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, which is from the Lord, who is the Spirit."--2 Corinthians 3:18 NET
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