When I stepped outside the icy air hit my lungs; I knew this was going to be a cold day. I knew that it would make my walk feel that much longer. Lucky for me I only had a few blocks to get to the bus stop, and from there it would be mostly public transportation as I went downtown in search of a job.
When I got on the train I decided to pass the time staring out the window as the world rushed by. I could hear people talking around me, but I was too lost in thoughts to really hear what was being said. Everywhere you could look there were Christmas decorations on display or people on ladders busily stringing up their next row of lights; merrily and frantically trying to keep up with their neighbors.
As the train started to pull into the downtown area the decorations grew in dimension and cost; mostly ignored by the shoppers hurriedly moving from one store to the next below them. Most of the shoppers buying gifts to put under their own trees; perhaps buying a thing or two for themselves, all the while fleeing from the cold air outside. Then there were the other people, sandwiched between the shoppers and businessmen rushing about, forgotten or ignored by the masses around them.
These souls were dressed in several layers of worn out winter clothes. They usually had a couple backpacks with them and a forlorn expression on their gaunt faces. They were the survivors, haunted by the cold night they endured just a few hours before. Still seeking to survive, wondering where their next meal would come from.
The train pulled up to my stop. It was the old Greek town station, only a few blocks from the place I was hoping to get to that day. As I walked towards the shelter I knew I was getting close. There were more and more people huddled together and against the cold, likely waiting till nightfall when the shelter would open again. Some hoping to be first in line, and dreading being last; dreading the possibility of having to weather another night on the streets. And others, on a deeper level, hoping not to join the fifty-two that died on the streets of last year’s winter.
I went into the shelter to apply for a job, and that I did, but I came out with a lot of questions. What if the Christmas lights of the holiday season have blinded my eyes to the season of hardship that so many struggle through? What if I’ve got caught up in a warm house and hot meals, and forgotten how harsh the cold really is? What am I doing to help these beautiful, tired people? Where would Jesus be?
He was huddled out front of the shelter, with the rest of the least of his.
Forgotten and ignored by the masses around them.
Image taken from Google Images.