I shook her hand and I looked into her crying eyes as she said it..."This is the BEST Christmas ever!" I told her, "I know, mine too".
You see, Angie, Justin, Dylan, Marissa, Cassie, My mother in law, and I volunteered for an hour and a half this morning on the Red Carpet of the Christmas Angel Project for the Soup Mobile. Basically, we cheered, danced, sang, shook hands, gave out hugs and wished "Merry Christmas" and "God Bless You" on a couple hundred of Dallas' homeless community as they entered the Dallas Hyatt Regency hotel at Reunion Tower. They were there for a night of comfort, good food, and fellowship as part of the Christmas Angel Project.
Angie and I have been feeling like Christmas should mean more than just ripping open presents that are forgotten about in short order. This feeling started a long while ago and was reinforced with our church's Give Different.org campaign that started last year and continues. Also reinforcing this feeling is the fact that the kids get so much for Christmas that they often become obnoxious and don't even realize it.
Now, for anyone who's ever served, service typically does more for the server than the served. Today was no different. I feel good about what I did this morning, and even better that the kids were involved. They seemed to have enjoyed it and they all said that it meant something to them. So far, they seem much more gracious with what they've received today, as well.
That being said, I'm somewhat convicted about how I've viewed the homeless previously. Living in New York City, you get pretty sensitized to the homeless pretty quickly, and then you just stop making eye contact, and ultimately viewing the homeless as needy souls.
That changed today. Every person I looked at, I saw a person, not someone who doesn't have an address. As they wished blessings on me, I couldn't help but be touched. Here is someone that has nothing in the way of possessions thanking me for being there and asking God to bless me (like He hasn't already, more than I'll ever deserve).
Then, I realized what was going on. I was helping the homeless man or woman feel like a human being. I was LOOKING at them. I was TOUCHING them. I was cheering them on.
And, it still holds true. My heart is filled more than it has in a long, long time.
This has been the best Christmas ever, that is for sure.