Several years ago when my grandson was just a little guy I spent Christmas Eve at my daughter’s house. There was food and gifts exchanged, but I went home without feeling the spirit of Christmas. I went to bed that night and prayed that Christmas day would bring what was missing. The following is an excerpt from my second book, A Gathering of Spirit.
On Christmas morning after eating breakfast I cleaned things up a little for whoever would be coming later in the day. After preparing the roast to marinate I decided to take a little time for myself. I had a few slices of bread that I wanted to get rid of and decided to take them to the park to give the birds a treat. It was a very cold and clear morning.
As I began tossing out the breadcrumbs I noticed a young man sitting on a park bench. My immediate reaction was that he was homeless and probably cold and hungry. I thought, maybe I should ask him to have dinner with us. My second thought was that in this day and age maybe that was not very smart.
I continued to feed the birds and as I was leaving the park I couldn’t stop thinking about the young man on the bench. As I started my car I made a decision to try to find some place that was open to get him something hot to drink. I began to drive down the near empty main street.
My mission was accomplished when I purchased cappuccino and pastry from a convenience store in the neighborhood. I noted that the total came to $2.01 and probably was not a coincidence. The biblical quote, “What you do unto the least of my brethren you do unto me” ran through my mind.
Returning to the bench I approached the young man, who was wearing a backpack and appeared to be well kept for a homeless person. I asked if he wanted something hot to drink and he said he did. After setting my offering on the bench I wished him a Merry Christmas and he returned the greeting.
A nearby church would soon be having services and I felt that he could find help there if he needed to. After all it was Christmas day!
As I was driving home I recalled reading a story about a minister who had dressed in rags and placed himself outside his church just prior to services. He wanted to see what his congregation would do. They walked right by him. When it was time for the service to begin, the minister still in rags went down the center aisle to the pulpit and used the experience to wake up his congregation.
The life story belonging to the young man on the bench is not for me to know. I believe our meeting was meant to be. I am very happy with the decision I made and I have a feeling that whoever was watching was too. I found what was missing from Christmas by simply following my heart.
Charity to be fruitful must cost us. …to love, it is necessary to give; to give it is necessary to be free of selfishness. ~ Mother Teresa
Faith, hope and charity; the greatest of these is charity. Charity means love.