Still Feeling the Joy

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…

Happy Monday,


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7 Responses to Still Feeling the Joy

  1. Yes, I don’t see why the poor should be forced to eat boring and unpalatable food at the end of a long hard day. On Christmas they ate well, but grate patrol needs cooks. I can offer myself. I baked eight pizzas with three types of cheese and bacon last patrol. They were mighty glad to get my pizzas instead of that chicken pasta smush. But there weren’t enough. I propose my cooking. I will be glad to do it. I can whip up a gastronomical storm.Just give me the ingredients.

  2. Margaret Easter says:

    What a wonderful tale, Jim. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  3. Michele says:

    I am smiling along with God, and you Jim. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Yes but Holy Communion can only be effected when those three cheese and bacon pizzas are safely and warmly tucked into the bellies of a hundred, cold, hungry and destitute men whose only diversion is the supper they are given through us as instruments of Christ. Chicken and pasta just isn’t love. I could do something truly holy with five more ingredients. “My cup spilleth over–“

  5. By the way, Jesus liked that lunch He reprimanded Martha about because next time He came –to L’s funeral,–He was busy with Martha talking about the resurrection. All on account of that lunch.

  6. Eileen says:

    Great snapshot of a DC Christmas tableau —- Norman Rockwell for sure —- delightful. Thank you.

  7. But our business is to love the poor. And yes, we do some things but I wish we could get down there and be with the homeless for over an hour and just talk to them. You know. Why don’t we form an army of lovers of the homeless. And just go around and be with them. You know it really is possible to talk to people. I talked at length to a woman at the Christmas dinner. Nobody was talking to the people. They are not beasts. They don’t just want food. They want friendship and love. I suppose I make everybody feel bad who reads this. But really I see Christ with a whip in hand–driving you always. And there is no time to be happy. Only to make a poor person happy.

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