Finding Love in a Hopeless Place

Dear Inner Circle,

The best stories are always true, at least that’s what I tell my kids when I regale them with tales of their exploits and adventures as munchkins. Thank goodness, that at the makeshift maternity ward at Christmas, there wasn’t really a little drummer boy. Even if he was “playing his best,” he wouldn’t have been all that welcome! Part of the beautiful mythos of Christmas lies in the essence of gathering wisdom around a vulnerable, young, and undoubtedly nervous teenage couple who have just had a baby away from home.

About eight years ago at Wayside’s Christmas Day Street Party, a teenage couple arrived. They had landed in Sydney that morning from overseas, two backpackers who impulsively caught the cheapest flight they could. So excited were they to travel that they hadn’t realised that it was Christmas morning until that very day, finding themselves in a city where they knew no one, and she had just discovered she was pregnant. They sat down at a table, where they were joined by a lovely woman, who had recently lost her husband of 40 years. She didn’t want to celebrate the day, but knew she didn’t want to be alone. She spoke of their life together and how the pains she now felt further confirmed the depth of the love they shared. She wouldn’t swap a minute of it for quids. Next to them sat a man who had woken up that morning in the local park. His pain lay in the knowledge that somewhere unknown to him, his children were celebrating Christmas without him. They spoke of love, regret, and the choices he would have made differently. In the midst of this communion, they looked up to see the then Prime Minister of Australia serving them prawn cocktails as an appetiser. They were stunned speechless, eventually calling their families with the opener, “We’ve got news, but first, you will never guess what happened today…”

That’s the beauty of our Christmas Day Street Party; it is our mission of creating community with no ‘us and them’, springing to life in a thousand unique and surprising ways. That’s what makes the day so special. All the immense effort isn’t merely a grand gesture from ‘us’ to do something special for ‘them’. It is a celebration for the whole family of humanity, each of us bringing our wisdom to a table that has been prepared lovingly in advance. The conga line that erupts around 1.30pm is simply the icing on the pudding of another year of finding love in the most unexpected of places.

Thank you for being part of our Inner Circle.


Rev. Jon Owen
CEO & Pastor
Wayside Chapel

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