Coldest Night of the Year – It’s Cold Out There
The Canadian winter can be harsh. Last year, where I live, everyone complained that it was the worst winter they had experienced in twenty years. Having just moved into the area, I was desperately hoping that last year wasn’t representative of what my new reality would be every year between December and March.
However, as unpleasant as I may find the winter, it barley impinges on my life. I have to make the mad dash between the car and the house and I have to shovel the driveway. On any given day, I likely only spend a few minutes out in the cold.
Not everyone is so lucky. To the homeless and the poor, the reality of winter can be much grimmer. Even those who have a place to live often can’t afford to heat it as warm as they would like. They might not have access to a car, so they have to walk in the cold, and while they do so, they might not have suitable clothing to keep them warm. Winter is just harder for them.
That’s why Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) is such an important event. CNOY is a charity walk run across Canada that helps to fund charities serving the homeless, the hungry and the hurting. It serves as a major source of our funding. But the value of Coldest Night of the Year isn’t just in the money it raises for charity (as important as that is) but also in that it brings the worlds of the poor and the comfortable a little closer together. It challenges us to set aside our comfort and empathize with the struggles of others. In it’s own way, it’s a microscopic taste of what Jesus did. As Paul so poignantly puts it,
[Jesus], Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! (Phil. 2:6-8, NIV)
We’d encourage you to sign up to walk in Coldest Night of the Year. We could use the financial benefit, but even if we received not benefit from it (and even if you’d like to join but can’t raise support) the real value is that as you can enter into the reality of another. As you walk, for a brief span you’ll experience the life of another. If that does something to break down the walls that divide your world from theirs, if it does something to make the other more understandable then it’s worth it.