ScriptureDo not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Mathew 6:19-21)

MeditationIt was a few days before Christmas when I saw the homeless man walking through the alley behind our office building.  I had seen him many times before as he wandered through the neighborhood looking for cans to sell.  He always came carrying a large garbage bag or pushing a shopping cart and went about his chore in a quiet and business-like manner, seldom staying anywhere long enough to say hello, or be caught by those who didn’t appreciate his entrepreneurial spirit.

On this particular day when I saw him in our back parking lot, I remembered that I had a large bag full of cans in the trunk of our car that I had been meaning to drop off at a recycling center for weeks.  I immediately determined that I could eliminate my task and perhaps provide the homeless “canner” with a little more capital than usual.

He was a bit wary when I popped out the back door of the office and got his attention, but I assured him I meant no harm.  I merely wanted to offer him something I had in the trunk.  

He stood by me silently with no real expression as I opened the trunk and pulled out what for him was an entire day’s haul of cans.  

As I handed him the bag, he realized what I was giving him and his expression changed dramatically.  A smile came across his face.  He looked me in the eye and in a loud voice he exclaimed, “Well, Merry Christmas!!”

Christmas is about joy.  Too often, however that joy is complicated by unreasonable expectations, endless advertisements, and the crush of holiday events, and, as a result, opportunities for small acts of love are missed.  But in that brief moment, the homeless man taught me that the joy of Christmas can come in the simplest of ways when we seek to cross the barriers that divide us one from another. 

Prayer:  Lord, help us cut through the drudgery of shopping and the dint of expectations to embrace the simple gift of a Baby in a manger and Your eternal gift of love to each of us.

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