For a seventh year we gathered at the parking lot in Vilas. At first, it looked like only a handful of day laborers would come for the Christmas service and breakfast we had prepared. ICE has been very aggressive–there have been lots of deportations from that spot in the past few weeks. And then the men started showing up, little by little, lots of familiar faces, the hugs and the sense that together we make Christmas.
This year, as every year, the men were invited to raise prayers to which we all answered, Cristo ten piedad–Lord have mercy:
For my grandparents who are both 102 this year and live in Guatemala.
For the son I had not seen in ten years who died 3 months ago.
For my family in Honduras. They are fighting and I ask God to help them stop killing each other.
For my mamacita, Juana, in Cuba
The posole stew was the success it always is.
This year, the bags of food we shared had fresh carrots, onions and potatoes. Thanks to a gift of rice and beans, we could add oil and hot sauce to the staples of Maseca, rice and beans we’ve always included. Larry J., a kind, generous man from All Saints prepared zip lock bags of socks and a candy cane and good folks of All Saints bought bows and angel present labels, enough to allow us to give each man a calling card.
Another Christmas celebrated. I am tired. Deeply moved by generosity, equally saddened by the relentlessness of need. There is grief and a deep, quiet joy for a Christmas blessing that has lasted all these years. Glory to God in the highest…