So I'd like to write a little slice about what I saw my son do the other night.
We attended a Christmas devotional, but I reminded my children of how we always see a great deal of homeless people on the streets as we walk around downtown. Because of this, we decided to be prepared to help. One of my daughters made a mother lode of cookies and one of my sons made a bunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The other two children helped package up the cookies and sandwiches, and then we were ready to go!
After parking the car, we stuffed our coat pockets and a small bag with all of the food, so that each one of us could give food to people. We were ready. But there were hardly any homeless folks. If I didn't know better, it would have seemed that homelessness was eradicated from our downtown. We went to the devotional with only having handed out one sandwich. And when we got out, we only found three more people. My oldest son determined that it was very cold, so they must be somewhere seeking shelter.
So after looking at Christmas lights, we piled back into our car with pockets still stuffed with food and began handing all the food to the bag holder, almost an adult big kid. My youngest even asked if we didn't find anyone that he could have one of the sandwiches because he was super hungry. We decided that if we didn't find anyone after I drove around a bit, he could, but if he would like, he could have a couple cookies to tide him over.
But he ended up not even having the two cookies. And I'm so glad he waited. He was glad he waited too.
We drove around a couple of blocks where I'd seen many homeless people in the daytime, but no one was there. And then, I took us past the train depot. So many people. Camping, huddling together, drug deals going down. All on one stretch of road.
We drove down the length of it to see if there was a "safe" area, and I passed by one that I had a good feeling about it, so I turned us around and went back, gave my oldest son my knife and instructions on how to be safe, and we parked.
He got out, walked over to the huddled masses, and slowly a few people approached him. Then, I saw my son handing out food to the hungry without fear and looking so grown up. He brought someone back to the car to check for more food because there were so many, and I didn't even realize that we still had a bag of bananas and oranges left in the car from our outing the day before. and it felt like a miracle to have that still there to share.
In that quick moment, I knew I never wanted to forget the night I saw my son be a leader among men. His heart was so big that night that it shone on his face. The good work he helped to perform for our family, as an emissary for us all, is small, but small things become great when we are serving others. We become great by giving.
I'm thankful for the opportunity we had to serve a few of the hungry. I'm even more thankful for the way it helped my children see that we can do much for others simply by acting on our intentions. It felt like Christmas.