It is indeed the most wonderful time of the year! Christmas is hands down my favorite time of the year. It can be a bit stressful and overwhelming for sure but it is a time to reflect on the past year, enjoy quality time with your family, and celebrate the birth of the one who made you – Jesus Christ. Since some of you and I are a bit new in our relationship a bit of backstory about me. I have not always seen the special place that family has in my life. When I was young there was a season where I wanted little to do with my family. In my youthful zeal I felt as if they were holding me back, all the while they were really holding me up. Family is important because they are the ones who are supposed to be there for you when everyone else walks away. I believe everyone wants to feel that closeness to a group of people; we want to feel valued and loved. That is how God created us. This is what the body of Christ was created to be – a family.
1 John 3:1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called Sons (and daughters) of God.
God wants to lavish His perfect love on us. He can, and will, when we accept Him as our father and are welcomed, with open arms, into His family. The culture that we have today suppresses the need for family. We exalt the idea of self and champion the “I” when really we must get back to the deep seeded roots that God created us to be in fellowship, or family, with one another.
This is where Cafe Barnabas comes in for the students and community of Topeka. Cafe Barnabas exists to share life with students. This means we both share in their triumphs and also there hurts, as well as who is life, Jesus. We are a family at Cafe Barnabas we have people of every size, shape, color, and background. We are united in our pursuit of finding a place to belong and we offer that freely to all who wander into our home. We have staked out a small corner of Topeka in westridge mall and are seeking to show this little world of ours that there is a place for them. God has given us the ability to transcend the muck and mire of our present situation. Maybe you have had a rough childhood. Maybe currently you don’t know where you fit in. Maybe you feel that no one loves you and would rather just end it. I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE LOVED AND THAT CAFE BARNABAS IS A PLACE WHERE YOU CAN BE A PART OF A FAMILY.
Being a part of a family means that you don’t have to go at it alone anymore. We are here to shoulder each others burdens and that is what is so amazing about what we do. We share life with students. Not that we want to replace their family, certainly not – but we do provide a place to belong. To show God’s love in a relevant tangible way. Sometimes this means we cry with you, sometimes this means we celebrate with you, sometimes it means we share in your anger, and sometimes – because we love you – we also share where you might be going astray and ultimately share the truth that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. He is the life and want to share life with all those who we call a part of our family.
So in this holiday season I want to personally invite you to have a seat at our table. I can not promise you that everything will be alright or that we have all the answers but I can promise you that when you are a part of this family, we will never stop loving you and we are with you every step of the way.
Merry Christmas and many blessings!
Bryson k. Rumple