Where is Your Christmas Spirit ?
My wife and I are spending our first Christmas away
from Ohio, and we decided to spend a few days in historic St. Augustine,
Florida last week. We
found all the places that sell chocolate and gelato in between visits
to the 400 to 500 year old structures that help define the city’s
history. We walked where Henry Flagler walked and even worshipped
in a church that Flagler built.
We heard a community chorus sing
segments of Handel’s Messiah and even ran across an old friend
who I worked with at Merrill Lynch in the early 70’s. This
turned out to be a great way for us to enjoy each other’s company
and also soak up some of the history of our country. I also found
myself shopping or waiting for my wife to finish shopping
as with all tourist areas, there are lots of things to see that can be
While sitting on a bench, one of the mornings, a
young man in his 20’s
sat down next to me and pulled out a sign that said “hungry need
food” and placed it in front of him on the sidewalk. He then
pulled out some reading materials from his backpack; set a stocking cap
next to the sign; and placed a dollar bill and some change in it to show
people what he expected for them to do.
My reaction to this was
pretty quick to observe that this young man looked
strong enough to be working rather than sitting on his butt waiting for
handouts, and then he found in his backpack some smokes and started working
on a cigarette. As
he is kicking back on his reading, sure enough along came some people
and they did place some money in the hat and he did not say thank you
or even acknowledge the gifts. My quandary is whether to lecture
this kid on the value of work, preach to him about work from the Bible,
or take him by the hand to a place down the street that has a sign asking
for applicants for work.
The next thing I know at least six (6)
more street people walk by him and check out how the
gig is going and whether he is getting any money and should they set
up down the way. Mr
Merrill Lynch is now getting very upset because he
knows a little bit about street smarts and this kid is pushing way to
far for his comfort zone.
As my tactical strategy is about to kick in, a man
in a wheelchair who is barely able to move his chair comes out of the
alley next to a store and moves slowly toward us. This man is quite heavy and not very
well dressed and clearly has not had a bath in a long time. As
he slowly approaches us, I’m thinking that he is coming to set
up shop along side this deadbeat kid and now the area will have to support
both of them.
The man in the wheelchair doesn’t do that
at all. He creeps up to the young man and says “Have you
eaten anything?” The young man says “no”. The
slovenly dressed man in the wheelchair takes out a few dollar bills from
his pocket and gives the young man half of them. They both disappeared
into the day!
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit
within me.” Psalm 51:10
MERRY CHRISTMAS, DLS
Sent December 18,
Dwight Short if you would like to receive future
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