Online Magazine Dedicated to Intelligent Black Women
Christmas is quite stressful these days we spend a lot of time rushing around to buy buy buy so much so that we are usually far less than jolly. Each year Christmas becomes more commercial and less religious or family orientated, more attention is placed on what we want to receive than giving thanks and praise. This year I was stopped in my tracks by a homeless man that reeducated me on the meaning of Christmas spirit.
Late yesterday evening, after my own Christmas mad rush I had to walk the dog (not my own, I’m dog sitting – that’s a whole different story). On my walk I saw a vagabond crossing the road, it was very clear from the fact that he had a huge smile on his face, that he was heading directly toward us. He was wearing the typical homeless uniform of baggy khaki and brown clothing and was battling to pull two trolleys and carry a multitude of smaller bags. As he reached us there was a huge smile spread across his face. He began to greet me in French, wanting to know how I was and where I was from. Now, naturally as it was late and he was a random homeless man my instinct was to be polite and get away quick but the dog wouldn’t move, so I pretended that I didn’t speak French to be confronted by “Ahhh, you speak English, what’s your name”. I said Sara, I don’t know why that name came to my head but it did. So for the next five minutes this will be the story of Sara and the homeless man.
Another smile swept across his face then he continued:
Homeless man: “Ahh Sara, Saaaaaaaaara, where aaare you from?
Sara: “Jamaica originally” – note the short response.
Homeless man: “Jaaamaaaica, oooooh, dat is niiiiiiice”. – he spoke very slowly, prolonged words and had a deep African ascent.
Sara: “Yes” – note the extremely short response, the dog would still not move.
Homeless man: “I am from Cameroon, me”
Sara: “Ahh” – you get the picture by now.
Homeless man: “My name is ………..” – I’m trying my best to remember but I can’t, he told me both his first and surname but they were both names that I have never heard before, very beautiful names and I so wish I could remember.
The homeless man pushed his had out to shake mine.
Homeless man: “So very pleeeeased to meet you Sara, I am ………” again the name I can’t remember.
The homeless man took my hand in both of his and kiss the back of my hand like 18th century gentleman. He then released my hand and smile even brighter.
Homeless man: “Here a chocolate for you”
Sara: “O no, really, that’s ok!”
Homeless man: “No no I want to give you something and I have chocolate”
Sara: “Thank you every much that is very very kind of you”
My mother always taught me never to turn up my nose at the less fortunate, so I was humbled and grateful to accept his chocolate.
Homeless man: “Ok Sara, I must continue now, but before I go I want to give you something else”
The homeless man then pulls out a small orange sack that had in it two tangerines and one large orange, as he opened the sack a tangerine fell out, so I picked it up and handed it back to him. As always he kept on smiling the whole time. He took the orange from his sack.
Homeless man: “This is for yooooou”
Sara: “No. no you keep that for you, thank you very much but I can’t take your orange from you”
Homeless man: “Nooooo, you must it is a gift, it is my birthday so I want to give a gift, I want to give you a gift, take it”
In the dark of night a homeless man in old clothes, dragging cast offs was smiling so brightly, more than the wealthier people that I had seen earlier down town carrying tens of gift bags and food shopping. I realized just how pleased he was to be able to give me a gift. He was so happy that he could give me his orange that it would have been cruel to refuse.
As he walked away to continue his journey, I stood in the street and marveled at the blessing that I had received. A man who had nothing goes into his bag where he has only two tangerine and a large orange and takes out the largest item to give as a gift. Not only that but even more so, that a man with nothing received such great joy from giving away the little that he had. Joy in giving not receiving, that is the meaning of Christmas spirit.
Let this Christmas be about giving and giving generously not about waiting and expecting to receive generously. Don’t hold you hand back from doing a kind deed, it is not always the person that you give to that will give back to you but the Lord who sees and knows the kind nature of your heart will reward you with blessings worth more than gold.