December 20, 2020 Christmas Photo A Day!

Today is the fourth Sunday of Advent. (You can’t take 12 years of Catholic school and make it totally disappear.) So how about today we think about other people? Do you think about, despite how terrible we might think this year was, that maybe on the other side—- after the vaccinations get to everyone, after things go back to normal…. after 2022 or 2023 when it becomes more of an old memory, a “remember back during the ‘Rona…” kind of thing, that maybe, just maybe we kind of discovered what Christmas really was about.

And it turned out it was about the presence of other people, not the presents under the tree? It wasn’t about getting the biggest, best and newest THING, but just getting or giving a hug?

When we think about how this has hurt people in such a divergent fashion, those who don’t get sick and didn’t lose their jobs are just feeling bored and put upon. Yet, there are millions of people who have caught the disease and millions of people who are mourning the loss of over 300,000 family members, friends, co-workers…

Think about all of those people, the ones that we don’t think about, who will feel Christmas is going to be exactly the same as every other Christmas. They are going to be alone. They are going to be hungry. They may be cold. And they don’t feel loved. This is exactly the same as every other Christmas to them. Hey, it’s actually the same as every other day. But now there are more of us who maybe can understand what it means to be alone, what it means to have no-one, what it means to be on the edge.

What about, if you receive an email from the GOP or the Democrats asking for money to try to overturn the election, or to try and make an election next month go a certain way, what if instead of sending those millionaires and billionaires that five dollars that they’re begging for, if you send it to a food bank? What if you made that recurring donation that Trump keeps emailing you to sign up for, what if you made that donation a recurring donation to a local women shelter?

Do you know where your local food bank is? Do you know there is a food bank in your local area? Because I promise you there is.

Look around you. Listen. People are asking for help. Do you know how hard it is for people to ask for help? Do you answer their call? Or do you just order another item on Amazon for under the tree for somebody that already has enough?

One of my favorite non-traditional Christmas songs…


In an old city bar
That’s never too far
From the places that gather
The dreams that have been

In the safety of night
With its old neon light
It beckons to strangers
And they always come in

And the snow it was falling
Neon was calling
The music was low
And the night Christmas Eve

And here was the danger
That even with strangers
Inside of this night
It’s easier to believe

Then the door opened wide
And a child came inside
That no one in the bar
Had seen there before

And he asked did we know
That outside in the snow
That someone was lost
Standing outside our door

Then the bartender gazed
Through the smoke and the haze
Through the window and ice
To that corner streetlight

Where standing alone
By a broken pay phone
Was a girl, the child said
Could no longer get home

And the snow it was falling
Neon was calling
Bartender turned and said, “Not that I care
But how would you know this?”
The child said, “I’ve noticed
If one could be home, they’d be already there”

Then the bartender came out, from behind the bar
And in all of his life, was never that far
And he did something else that he thought no one saw
When he took all the cash from the register drawer

Then he followed the child to the girl across the street
And we watched from the bar as they started to speak
Then he called for a cab then he said, “J.F.K.”
Put the girl in the cab and the cab drove away
And we saw in his hand, that the cash was all gone
From the light that she had wished upon

If you want to arrange it
This world you can change it
If we could somehow make this
Christmas thing last

By helping’ a neighbor
Even a stranger
To know who needs help
You need only just ask

Then he looked for the child
But the child wasn’t there
Just the wind and the snow
Waltzing dreams through the air

So he walked back inside
Somehow different, I think
For the rest of the night
No one paid for a drink

And the cynics will say
That some neighborhood kid
Wandered in on some bums
In the world where they hid

But they weren’t there
So they couldn’t see
By an old neon star
On that night, Christmas Eve

When the snow it was falling
And neon was calling
In case you should wonder
In case you should care

Why we on our own
Never went home?
On that night of all nights
We were already there

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