Why is it that mainly at Christmas, we think more of those who have nothing….either from their own decisions in life…or the harshness of life itself? Usually, when I see a “bum,” as some may call them, on the street, I think…“They are somebody’s son or daughter.”
A Mother or Father, somewhere, is wondering where their child is. Someone is praying that he or she will someday come home. It was true in the Holy Scriptures when the father watched for his “prodigal son” to come home. We are told the son finally came to his senses and knew that he was better off with family than feeding the pigs after he had spent his inheritance. Would most people today welcome him back? Good question…no good answer. The father, in this case, even threw him a party!
How did the homeless get into such a state of affairs? Who knows…and does it really matter? The reality is that they are on the street and the street is very unforgiving.
On the street, it rains…in fact it pours, at times, with lightning! On the street, there is danger. On the street, there is sickness. On the street, there is no food cooking with the heavenly aroma of Christmas. It is simply a life of harshness…with no where to go.
Yes, the Salvation Army takes care of a few of them. The food kitchens helps out and so do the churches with their drives for help and kindness to others. Our church, St. James, raised thousands of dollars for the local food bank this year.
Reaching out, when it means personal contact, is VERY HARD TO DO. Most of us would rather walk around the situation…not confront it. Basic needs are one thing…but human kindness, love and a home is another.
I can remember what it was like, years ago, to be “poor.” It was many years ago and I was an educated teacher and single parent with three small children to support. On a salary of $14,000 a year, it didn’t stretch very far…to say the least! Nevertheless, with faith in God and help from my parents, I managed. When Christmas came around, I went to the garage sales to see if I could find something the children would like that looked new. They always had a nice Christmas and I am thankful that we were never on the streets. So many are, including children. This is not only a problem here in the U.S., it is one worldwide.
In more recent years, when I was teaching short-term in Mongolia, I saw young children begging on the streets and they slept at night in an underground tunnel meant for the hot water pipes of the city. Most of their parents were alcoholics and the children had to make the street gangs their only “families.” It is tragic wherever homelessness occurs. I also saw old men, who had spent their years working with the occupying Russian military. When Mongolia kicked out the Russians, as the Berlin Wall fell, the men became homeless for they were then old and without any support. They walked the streets, trying to sell their military medals to the tourists in order to live. Life has its cruelties.
Pray for the people of Kentucky who have lost their homes and all possessions due to the tornadoes and terrible weather. Most never dreamed that they could ever be homeless, yet they are. We must remember that all of us could face such situations.
Listen with me now to a musical video that tells the message, through dramatization, that we all need to hear. Open your hearts…not only at Christmas, but throughout the year. It is what Christ did. It is what He would have us do.