Street Stories

Weblog of Seattle minister to the homeless Rick Reynolds, Operation Nightwatch

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Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

Caring for human beings seems like the best use of my time, homeless or not.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Christmas 2001

Fumbling around for a notebook - a new brain for a new year - I ran across a "vintage" Christmas story from 2001. Humor me.

I was asked to speak to a group
of inner city kids
about Christmas.

These kids were from Yesler Terrace,
Seattle Emergency Housing Services,
Operation Nightwatch.

More specifically -- they were from Somalia,
Ethiopia, Vietnam, Cambodia
and the other side of the tracks.

A tough crowd. Many cultures, languages, traditions.
Life had been tough for these families,
and I was nervous. What did they know about Christmas?
What would interest them?

I decided to get them talking.

"Tell me what you know about Christmas, about Jesus' birth. Use one word."

Hands went up. Words were written down.

(here every possible farm animal is added)
"How about something besides animals?" I suggest.

A brief pause:

(egad, these kids know the whole story, what can I add?)

There was a lull. One young boy raised this hand for the first time.


Yes, Jesus' birth was all about trouble: taxes, untimely pregnancy, homelessness, political uncertainty, religious longing, life itself.

Suddenly we all got it. Everyone has trouble - at school, in the city, the world. Trouble is everywhere.

Nice to know we're not alone. Jesus had trouble too.


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