Though our culture invites us to express gratitude during the holiday season (which now launches right after Halloween), it simultaneously distracts us by shouting at us to buy stuff stuff that most of us don’t use or need. This season is filled with frantic consumerism, the lure of shopping as a way to show love to those we cherish. This past Thanksgiving, shops flung their doors open even earlier to unleash a spending spree, intentionally interrupting time that Americans typically spend with their families. Black Friday rang early while people still lolled about on their couches, recovering from their mid-afternoon Turkey dinner. http://www.thewheelhousereview.com
In response to this consumerism that only seems to intensify each year, I wanted to understand that for which others are truly grateful. So, I asked a few friends to join me in contemplating a gratitude list. Rich and enduring friendships, parents who love us, gainful employment, good health (including the ability to dance, see, hear, run, and walk), and hope in God’s word and in the unseen all topped the list. But also present: each person expressed gratitude for a warm home on a cold night.
Winter forcefully announced her presence a few weeks ago with frigid gusts and a wet-cold that permeates down to the bone. This is partly why the following scene, which I stumbled upon one recent 8am en route to the office, made me gasp.
It is not unusual that we become inured to the presence of the destitute and the homeless. Throughout the year, our city’s homeless splay out or curl up in uncomfortable repose atop gutters, on sidewalks, on ledges. Their presence is almost an expected part of the fabric of any major city. But it doesn’t need to be, and it shouldn’t be. There’s lots of great work going on to reduce homelessness. Here in Washington, D.C., Homepage: Features | Miriams Kitchen and Pathways to Housing DC | Housing First Ends Homelessness are examples of organizations that clothe, feed and house our homeless. Perhaps we can steer our consumerist urge in their direction, or those like them, to help eradicate despair and transform our cities. No one should lie unconscious on a freezing street, invisible to those who hurry past.