i used to enjoy christmas like anyone else. right after thanksgiving my thoughts would turn to gifts, the people i needed to buy gifts for, decorations, parties, donations, volunteering and of course christmas bonuses so i could do all of the above without cringing. today, i still like to do all of that, but for now i can't really do some of it. well..most of it. but being homeless has changed my whole perspective on christmas and how i view it and even who i am thinking about. first and foremost it has deepened my christian values and beliefs and the traditional christmas message brought forth thru the bible concerning the birth of jesus christ. if you aren't a christian....that's ok....i am. you don't have to believe what i believe and i certainly am not going to criticize you for your faith. but today when i left the center i started to think about christmas today....the one i'm involved with this year and what it means. i'm going to set aside the debates on snap, homelesscide, welfare, economics, social and moral responsibilites, unemployment, addiction, affordable housing, job training and all the other things that come with the homeless discussions. i'm going to talk about christmas and me. i'm homeless, so it's ok if i talk about a homeless christmas.
christmas can be tough on even the most hardened homeless person. it's the one time of year that can bring back memories you try not think about too often. family, friends, your former home and all the warmness that comes from christmas and that particular time of year. it's a stark reminder of what you've lost and how distanced you are from it. as for me and what i have seen around me.....i'll take this christmas over most the christmas pasts. now that may sound odd coming from a homeless person. so let me tell you ....i see things now that i wouldn't or couldn't see before. i see a man's eyes light up when someone says merry christmas to him and pats him on the shoulder. i see a woman cry when someone drops off christmas presents for her children that she couldn't possibly buy. i see child smile and get giddy when they open up a christmas gift from someone who thought enough to buy one for the homeless and poor. i see a man get a relieved look on his face when he receives a warm pair of socks and a pair of gloves. not excited...but relieved. i see people from all walks of life visiting the center and the mission giving to the homeless and the poor from the neighborhood. they are smiling too because they get a sense of satisfaction and a sense of doing good for someone else. i see everyone get silent when the chaplains read from the bible...john and mark...about the birth of jesus christ. i hear voices coming from men whom i never would have expected could sing that well when the christmas carols and hymns begin. all in all it's a transforming time of year. i just wish it could last into january.
as for me...i'm having a charlie brown christmas. the little christmas tree that i'm sure was there last year with the lites that are barely hanging on to their glow is my tree this year. the little decorations and cards that hang along the wall are my decorations this year. none of them are addressed to me personally but that's ok. whatever gifts i receive from people will be more than welcome and more than appreciated. alot more than any other time in my life. all in all...this just may be the best christmas i've had since i was a child.
thank you to all the people who remember the homeless at christmas. you have no idea what it means and how much it is appreciated. we thank you...we are grateful to you and for you. have a merry christmas and be safe
see you around town