The modern-day money changers were quite conspicuous this Christmas season, hawking their goods to go with your Christmas, the way Burger King used to ask if you want cheese with your burger. Yet, I did an engine search for the annual Marrazzo Brothers Homeless Christmas meal in Penndel, PA and I couldn’t find any coverage for this year.
The Marrazzo’s and company taking the time in effort to serve those less fortunate is what Christmas is really about. I had the pleasure of meeting Dan Marrazzo and many other gracious hosts who made us feel welcome at the meal.
The food was excellent, with a good variety of foods, such as lasagna, and of course desserts. But the best part was getting together with friends, and making new friends –people I had seen at other homeless meals and at other venues – and got to know them.
The meal was an oasis in a desert of incessant ads and jingles, clichés that wear on the nerves. It’s good to know that beyond the surface glitter there is something noble.
Christ was born in Bethlehem to save us from sin and to show us the way – to become more like him. Jesus healed the sick and lame and helped the downtrodden, accepting them for whom they are, a creature made in the image of God.
Christmas is not about a baby in the manger. It’s about Jesus coming to earth, being one of us, suffering like humans, being tempted but, being perfect, he had victory over sins on our behalf. It was the gift given graciously out of mercy for our fallen state.
Columnist Cal Thomas puts Christmas in perspective:
Christmas is not just a one-time celebration, but a reminder of why Christ came to earth that we should hold dear all year long. It’s not just an isolated moment. To adapt lines from an old love song, Christmas is not just a moment’s pleasure, but a lifelong treasure. God is not a distant concept; he is ever present.
God is found in all creation. He didn’t make the earth and people then go off to a distant cloud like the pagan gods of old, but he is alive.
“The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth.
The law of the Lord is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure,
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
and all of them are righteous.
They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb.
By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
But who can discern their own errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
Just as the homeless Christmas meal was an oasis, so are the churches who host the regular homeless meals and others who genuinely reach out to the homeless a welcome spring in the desert of those who consider a homeless person a persona non-grata. A recently published book, by yours truly, illustrates the role of the homeless in society, and focuses on lower Bucks County, PA, where I’ve hung out with and got to know the local homeless.
The book is available on Amazon.com.