If you haven’t yet, you must read reporter, Matt Pascarella’s interview with Santa Claus on page 5 of the newspaper. It’s a real interview with real answers. (I’ll let you decide which part is real. If you believe in magic and miracles, it’s all true.)
There is bit of advice Ol’ St. Nick recommends that rings true for me. He told Pascarella, “Make a wish for a family in need or think of a way to help a fellow human.”
What’s interesting is that Santa isn’t the only person who recommends this advice. If one considers all the major belief systems, they all promote this same philosophical approach to living.
For whatever reason, this time of year softens our hearts for those who face extreme challenges. Especially homeless individuals. But once the holidays are over, our hearts become less understanding. Perhaps out of frustration or stress, we return to our old ways. We throw stones and shame those who live on the streets. “Get a job!”, we protest.
I’m not going to deny that I view life through rose-colored glasses. I’m also not going to deny that some who stand on streets corners manipulate their hardships to pull at the heartstrings of someone like me to abuse the system. But must we let those few shatter the life of the many, that often include children and teenagers? Read "Student homelessness" on the front page of the newspaper.)
There is a lot we don’t understand about homelessness, but I think Santa’s on to something that aligns with a moral conviction most of us have to help the less fortunate.
I think this community exceeds beautifully in the art of goodwill for those facing a multitude of challenges. But there is still that stigma of homelessness that create shame and disgrace - making life unnecessarily more difficult - for those who live on the streets, in cold abandoned buildings, in cars or on someone’s couch - never knowing when the next meal will be or where they will lay their head that night.
Let’s consider Santa’s advice by taking back our stones and misconceptions aimed at the homeless; especially as it affects displaced children and teenagers. They are our future, after all. Who knows what sort of magic will happen if you give a child solid ground without having to worry about dodging stones.
May you find warmth this winter season with family and friends in a home you call your own. Happy Winter Solstice and Merry Christmas!