Monday, December 17, 2012

Homeless for the Holidays
By Micki Peluso
Rated "PG" by the Author.

Essay on the state of the homeless people during the Holidays

Christmas carols waft through the crisp Manhattan air as the steady ringing of the bells of Salvation Army Santa sets the pace for shoppers hustling from store to store. The magnificent Rockefeller Center Christmas tree heralds the promise of Yuletide celebrations ushering in the season of love and joy.
But for thousands of homeless people in New York city, the season is a harbinger of struggle. Huddled in alleyways, bus terminals, doorways and other temporary hovels, attempting to ease the chill of winter, they find no joy.
Some keep their faces to the ground, too hungry and lethargic to honor the Christ child's birth. Others glance upward, perhaps searching for a special star to offer solace to a life of misery, but more likely hoping for handouts--a dollar or two to stem the ever-present gnawing of a tortured empty stomach. Years ago, it was a nickel, but inflation has reached the street people as well. New York City with the highest population in the country, also has one of the largest number of people for whom Christmas is just another exercise in survival.
Perhaps it is the fear of 'Except for the grace of God go I', mentality that keeps us from recognizing them or addressing the biblical question, 'Am I my brother's keeper?' Now that the holidays are upon us it's a good time to reconsider our priorities. We live in a country of great contrasts; from the extremely wealthy through the middle class to the struggling lower class. Not enough of us consider the 'no' class, the people who have nothing; because acknowledging the problem necessitates a resolution.
Still, the day after Christmas there will be those who will ponder, like in the old Peggy Lee song, 'Is that all there is?' Too often Christ is removed from Christmas and we sense, but cannot name, the hollow feeling left after the frantic rush to make one day memorable. The homeless, hunched around garbage can fires, or sleeping over subway grates to catch the warmth of a passing train, do not have the luxury of such contemplation.
As our world grows smaller, the plight of the homeless becomes a global concern, bringing crime, disease and poverty to our doors. No one appreciates a guilt trip during the Christmas season, and no one wants visions of starving people interrupting the Holiday feast, overflowing with homemade delicacies, cookies and candy canes hanging from decorated trees. We work for what we have, ever harder in this sluggish economy and we deserve the rewards of our labors. True. But in the spirit of Christmas it is important to remember that over 2000 years ago, the Christ child lay in a manure-filled stable in Bethlehem, on a straw mattress of questionable cleanliness, wrapped in swaddling clothes that did not come from Macy's.
Emphasis today weighs heavily upon material gifts. Charge cards promote a gluttony of expenditure that has little to do with the meaning of Christmas. The legendary Little Drummer Boy had nothing but a song to offer the new-born babe. That gift was cherished more then the gold, frankincense and myrrh brought by the wise men from the East, because it was a gift of pure love.
This season let us all think about how much we have, and how fortunate we are to be spending the holidays with loved ones instead of a damp, freezing floor in Grand Central Station. Above all, let us love one another. And if we can extend that love to the homeless street people, the next holiday season may witness a practical solution to our mutual shame. Love is a self-perpetuating emotion; and all it takes to activate it is to exchange it among ourselves. Merry Christmas!


  1. Thank you for reminding us to give this Christmas season, Micki. But let's not stop there, we need to continue long after the holidays. God bless you, and Merry Christmas!

  2. Thank you Micki for this blog post!!
    Happy Holidays!

  3. A lovely and thought-provoking post. Thank you, Micki, for reminding us that not everyone has a merry Christmas.

  4. What a great and sad account about the sub culture of our country.

  5. Micki, as usual, this is such a heart warming story and yet so, so sad. Our thoughts were somewhat parallel for a recent post on Awakenings ( touched on the gluttony of Christmas and those less fortunate.

    I am going to publish this one at Awakenings much like I did your Halloween story. I don't think you will mind:>)

  6. Merry Christmas My Friend. This story reminds me a movie I watched last night regarding a man that changed his life to be better for those less fortunate and and giving his was his life. A young girl carried on his charity and your story made me think that if we would all take warm sandwiches out to the street where we find the Homeless maybe some of our grand gifts of the least we should expect in life of not being hungry can be shared with those less fortunate. Thank you for such a heart felt story and I loved the way it was reposted by Sharla as well. Merry Christmas from our home to yours with many Blessings.

  7. A beautiful and important post. I feel so blessed and pray for a place to call home for all. May you have a wonderful Christmas! By the way I gave my mom a copy of "And the Whippoorwill Sang" last night at our family Christmas party. She exclaimed, "I've been wanting to read this." Mom's been viewing all of my "likes" on her Facebook feed (maybe this kind of marketing does work). The book was passed around and everyone wanted to know what it was about. I think that's waht's called a "buzz."

  8. Peggy, way to go!! Thanks and let's hope your mom doesn't lend all the books out like most of my readers. That's why my sales' numbers are so low.

  9. Micki, this was such an awesome post. I thought I had already commented, but I don't see it here. You have expressed facets of life in a way that make us stop and be thankful for what we have but more importantly "who we have...and I don't mean ownership:) I mean those around us that we love and can enjoy their company and be blessed everyday that we have them, this goes for pets too:):) Thank you Micki on another great post!

  10. Thanks for visiting and commenting, Deirdre, Sandy, Rosemary, Sharla, Pat, Rani, Peggy and Lori--so nice to have visitors!! May the coming year bring us each the happiness we crave and all good things including, most importantly, love and peace on Earth.