Friday, December 18, 2015
Home for Christmas
I suspect we've lost sight of that fact--lost sight of the meaning of home. It's not just a place to sleep and eat. It's a place you feel secure, and if you're staying with someone in their home, you're a guest (welcome or not), but you're not home.
I know of a couple authors who are completely homeless due to circumstances they can't control. It doesn't take much. Catastrophic illness. Loss of a job. Loss of income. And with shocking suddenness you're living in your car, trying to stay warm as you huddle beneath a pile of blankets.
We hear a lot about homeless folks across the planet, but very little about the homeless in our country, except for the marginalized due to drugs or mental issues. No one talks about the tent cities of homeless families on the outskirts of our cities. No one considers the families who've moved back home with grandparents or other family members out of desperation, often living in crowded (possibly illegal) circumstances so they're not out in the cold. They keep their living conditions secret so they don't lose their children to the foster system.
When we visualize the homeless, we think of drunks or addicts sleeping on the sidewalk, but that's just a tiny tip of the iceberg. This Christmas, there will be incredible numbers of children who won't wake up to heat or food or running water. A Christmas tree with presents beneath it is just a fantasy they might hear about in school. For them, being warm with food to eat would be a miracle. Having a home is an untouchable dream.
When we sit down to eat our Christmas dinner, maybe just this once we should acknowledge that this isn't the norm. It's a privilege...because we are home for Christmas.