My best Christmas present this year didn’t come to me – I came to it. I arrived at the church at about 12:30 pm to drop in on the St. Alban’s Christmas Day Dinner. After attending a lot of church services on Christmas Eve I thought I’d stay a few minutes and then take off. An hour later I was in the kitchen helping clean up.
While there I met a retired priest who was ordained in Korea and now lives in New York. He was here visiting his daughter for the Holidays. They heard about the dinner and came. I met a 103 year-old woman from Peru and two elderly woman told me on their way out that they had met at a Christmas Day Dinner at St. Alban’s more then twenty years ago.
The highlight was a table in the smaller room off Satterlee Hall. There were six or seven people sitting around the table and enjoying themselves immensely the entire time I was there. One was an older homeless man that I often see on Wisconsin Avenue. Another also looked homeless, but younger, maybe in his twenties? There was what looked like a family of Asian descent. And then there was the man who seemed to be playing host. I’ve seen him at church a few times before, the last time asking a question during an adult forum I was leading. He had dressed for the occasion, in a literal sense. Mardi Gras beads around his neck (all beads are Mardi Gras beads to me now), women’s shoes, and a blue and white striped full-length dress. Nobody seemed to mind. God was smiling. “Where’s Norman Rockwell when you really need him,” I thought.
Thanks to Laura and to all who made the annual Christmas Dinner at St. Alban’s a heavenly banquet. It was a Holy Communion, to be sure. Until next year…