I pulled up in front of the Catholic Charities Mission. A family with two small children boarded my bus. A little boy, likely around 7 and a little girl about 3 years old with their mom and dad. Homeless. My heart went out of my chest and tears came down my face. Thankfully sunglasses were covering my eyes. This is how some spend Christmas. I have seen this kind of scene many times before. Some people, at times, take a wrong turn~ it can happen to anyone.
The little boy hopped up on his father's lap and began pointing out the window at all the Christmas decorations around the town. The little girl was dozing off in her mother's arms. They were dressed thin coats and were shivering but expressed gladness to be on the bus where it was warm. It hit me hard this time. I see homeless people all the time~ day in and day out. I get to hear their stories~ their troubles as well as their joys. I've seen this countless times but for some reason this time is different. It was the little boy's eyes~ they were filled with hope...pure hope~ real hope.
It was hard for me to not keep thinking about him. How long, I wondered, would it be before he began to look like so many others. In pain, jaded. I don't know. I felt compelled to pray for this family. I will likely be thinking about them as I'm singing tonight at Mass. As they stepped off the bus and out into the city I watched them go. Putting aside my own preconceived ideas for a moment...the things that have been placed into my mind about how "people like that" don't work so they shouldn't, "get a handout." I know some people have made mistakes but not all...some merely need help. As soon as this thought crossed my mind these people became my loved ones. I remembered that Jesus Christ came for such as these...the little, the poor, the forgotten of society. It is how he arrived in a manger~ in Bethlehem.
I just wanted to share this with you for you to consider that, if life had been different, you could be in the same situation...I could be in the same situation. Give thanks to God for it~ in all circumstances. Continue to say thank you with your life. Don't take if for granted. However you can, by whatever means you've been given, bless others and you will be truly blessed. I hope you have a Merry Christmas. We have been given everything~ accept it.