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Christmas Magic | Uno


Rough outline, because otherwise this makes no sense:

  1. Story
  2. Other story
  3. Things that are cool about Christmas
  4. Quote that is neat, but doesn’t really tie into anything

It still doesn’t make sense…but, at least you have an outline.

This is a blessed moment. Julia and Ceebs, in da kitchen.
This is a blessed moment. Julia and Ceebs, in da kitchen.

On Monday Julia texted me all, “Should I dress cute or dress for yoga/ dancing/ stretching” because she was coming over to my house to do some crafts and I responded with an all-caps, “YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO.”

I mean, yoga/ dancing/ stretching, OBVIOUSLY. We have hardwood floors. If not for interpretive dance, THEN FOR WHAT? So, we did that a bit. My plan was to work on art and finish all the art, but, I didn’t get to finish all of it, really. (Or at all. Cough). You know how the projects always take longer than what you bargain for? Ding ding ding. I’m 7 days and a million projects away from Christmas. But, I’m not afraid to try.


Today I went walking about the city, in the cold, with another local businessman, Jerry, to minister to the local neighborhood’s needs. We take sandwiches and cookies and hats and gloves and whatever other things people have donated, then we try to find the needy and talk to them and share with them what we have.

Today there was a new face, one neither of us had seen before, standing outside of the bustly-district in Detroit dedicated to restaurants and that one Casino. He was very large, but, upon speaking to him, also very simple. We offered him a sandwich, and he reached out to take it, and we saw that he didn’t have any gloves: only swollen, chapped hands.

So then I said, “And would you like some gloves?”

And when he nodded, I rifled for some and found a really nice pair–fleece-lined and insulated (God bless people who donate really nice things, for there are people who really need them). This man reached out his hand, and I got the idea that he wanted me to help him put them on.

So, I opened the sleeve-part, and I was like, “Let’s give this a try, go ahead and put your hand in,” and he put his hand in, but he didn’t necessarily have the skill-set for putting his hand in all the way, so I started pushing the glove on, and he braced himself and pushed his hand in, and there we were: tugging and pushing his swollen hand into a warm pair of gloves.

His wrist had a band on it–the kind you receive at hospitals–and it said, “fall risk,” and I noted that and kind of positioned myself where my torso could potentially respond to/ catch him if he happened to fall…even though, again, he was much larger than I.

So, there I stood, under the awning of a nice, warm restaurant, trying to coax a simple street man’s swollen hands into a set of gloves with phrases like, “Alright, you can do this,” and, “Now you’re so close,” and the whole while Taylor Swift’s “Santa Baby” was being blasted from overheard (“Santa Baybay, slip a sable undah the tree, fohr mhee” was really the part that stuck out) and the sparkly business people where eating from their holiday parties inside and I was struck by the overwhelming LIFE of it all.

Then he told us his name was “Demetrus” and then he started saying, “I don’t want it, I don’t want it,” and at first I thought he meant the gloves so I was like, “You don’t want the gloves??” partially because we had just spent quite a bit of time and effort getting them on (read: my own frustration, “Why didn’t you tell me ten minutes ago??”) but also because he kind of needed the gloves this whole time. Eventually we realized he didn’t want the sandwich, which was strange. So then we were like, “Do you want cookies?” “Do you want water?” and he kept saying that he didn’t.

Finally my coworker was like, “Do you want a hat?”

And he nodded and flipped off his hood, exposing his bald head, bowing towards me.

So I found a grey hat in Jerry’s pack, and pulled the hat over Demetrus’ shaved head. I pulled it down, snug and tight, but then worried that I pulled it too far, maybe over his eyes, and I told him that, but he straightened up and smiled through his chapped, cracked lips–a smile with only a few surviving teeth remaining–and I laughed with him. The hat fit him well. He still didn’t want the sandwich, so we just left, looking back every few steps until we turned a corner and he was out of sight.

Joe and Josh, same kitchen.
Joe and Josh, same kitchen.

A lot of people don’t like Christmas, and I feel for them, but I’m not one of them.

I’m one of the ones who is like, “Wait, what? Miracles EVERYWHERE?”

Mostly, during the year, radio stations just have songs about getting it on; but during December they play Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin and sometimes Josh Groban sings about BABY JESUS. A thrill of hope. The weary world rejoices.

Yesterday I went to a few different stores, and I walked up and down the aisles with my mom and I picked out things for the people who I interact with/ love the very most, and I even picked up shiny paper wrap these things in. WHO THOUGHT OF THESE IDEAS? Presents and shiny paper? What a great idea. It’s like people become an entirely different race this time of year.

On Sunday I was sitting next to my mom at the table and we made a list of all of the things we will eat at the party we’re having at our house on Christmas Eve. All of our family members are coming! (Mostly). And usually we’re too busy and preoccupied to clean the whole house and dress up and make the special foods, but, we’re doing it, now, just because.

Yesterday I called down to Atlanta, and wouldn’t you know it, one Hispanic family is going to be making all of the Hispanic foods this week. And I know for a fact that my mom and my sister and my sister-in-law and my aunt and my cousins and this one lady who is somehow related (maybe? Maybe not? Maybe she’s only an old neighbor of my grandmothers or something?) are all getting together to make pierogi, which takes days to make. (Seriously, though. We started that kapusta back on Thanksgiving). What wonder.

There’s a tree in our house, and yesterday I sat next to it, reading about St. Therese (so good), and it smells like magic and the forest and, again, how did this good of an idea make its way into popular culture?

I think that, probably, it’s because of Baby Jesus.

Last Friday I heard the Archbishop speak. He spoke about the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe. He talked about people who are skeptical to see miracles; but, he said, that’s not us. We’re willing, our eyes are open.

So, yeah.

Christmastime magic.

I love me some miracles, and maybe that’s what I’ll share with you in these beautiful, final days leading up to Christmas.

Maybe that and, you know, stories about the homeless.

But, in my mind, that was a blessed encounter…and, maybe even a miraculous one soooooo, there you go.

Do the things, you guys. But, not just the busy busy busy things. Do the things that make you more human and more fraternal. Do the small, small acts that link you as a brother or sister to the rest of the world.

To end, dewd, this quote that doesn’t really tie in at all, but a friend emailed it to me and I’ve been loving it so THERE YA GO:

You will find out that Charity is a heavy burden to carry, heavier than the kettle of soup and the full basket. But you will keep your gentleness and your smile. It is not enough to give soup and bread. This the rich can do. You are the servant of the poor, always smiling and good-humored. They are your masters, terribly sensitive and exacting master you will see. and the uglier and the dirtier they will be, the more unjust and insulting, the more love you must give them. It is only for your love alone that the poor will forgive you the bread you give to them. ~St. Vincent de Paul~

Your love alone.

Make it count.

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