“Christ of the Breadline” by Fritz Eichenberg:
For he delivers the needy when they call, the poor and those who have no helper. Psalm 72:12
There was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7
In the year of our Lord, hospitality was a sacred duty. Mary and Joseph probably arrived at the home of friends or family after all the other travelers, and the room set aside for guests was taken. They were welcomed and the stable was offered.
Who are these people sleeping huddled in doorways on this the longest night of the year? They are someone’s child, perhaps someone's mother or father, brother or sister. They have worn out their welcome. Most often the victims of substance abuse or mental illness, even the homeless shelters have rejected them.
On this long dark cold night, let us make room in our hearts for those less fortunate, who we see but do not know; and let us keep in our prayers those who have nobody else to pray for them.
Almighty and most merciful God, we remember before you all poor and neglected persons whom it would be easy for us to forget: the homeless and the destitute, the old and the sick, and all who have none to care for them. Help us to heal those who are broken in body or spirit, and to turn their sorrow into joy. Grant this, Father, for the love of your Son, who for our sake became poor, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
– Chris Hooker