Emmaus Ministries, the umbrella organization of what started as simply the Emmaus Soup Kitchen, gives presents to 2,000 children every Christmas. I bought for 35 this year--four families.
The shopping is easy: online-with a generous budget-and the search for sneakers that double as snowboots, hoodies that are thick and warm, jeans and tops that can last a year of laundering, and outfits for 6 month-olds (Did you know they still sell Carter's?)
The wrapping is great fun: using all those brightly-colored character paper--heavy on the Santa Clauses and snowmen.
Yesterday came the deliveries. And there was no more fun. The worst was a second-floor apartment. I got to it by climbing bare, old wooden steps with no carpet, no treads, no anything. The room I entered was maybe 12' x 12'---maybe. It was hard to tell, for it was nearly pitch dark inside--at 3:00 pm in the afternoon. No lamps, though there might have been one light bulb, and some light did come from the TV.
All the windows were covered by sheets or blankets, hanging down their full length. Five or six little kids were on a couch or a chair or just milling around. It was claustrophobic--for me, maybe not for them.
Michelle, the mother/grandmother/aunt, gave me a big hug and a thanks as I put the large boxes down, gave our greeting and pivoted in-place going back down the bare and well-worn stairs.
Oh, I almost forget, over in the corner was a little three or four foot artificial Christmas tree, with a few lights.
Today we put up our trees:
In the community room.
Even outside in the inner courtyard.
So tell me, why do I keep seeing theirs?
Friday, Isaiah 52: 1-6
Saturday, Christmas, Isaiah 49: 7-9
Sunday, Holy Family, Sirach 3: 2-7, 12-14