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Reaching into the shadows and becoming “Somebody’s Angel”

December 21, 2012

“They say this is the best time of the year
And for most of us that’s probably how it feels
But what about the ones left alone
And all the people hurting,
Looking for a glimpse of hope”  ~ “Somebody’s Angel”~ Mandisa


I have heard this song at least 58 times this Christmas Season but yesterday when it came on the radio I was so moved absorbing these words as if for the very first time that I had to pull over and absolutely soak in every syllable of this incredibly accurate description of how painful Christmas is for some of our neighbors. 


*The 69 year old electrician that was laid off and now he and his 70 year old wife are struggling to pay the bills especially the $2200 mortgage.  Christmas Spirit fizzled when he paycheck & hope for another work opportunity in the twilight of his life disappeared.

*The family who is carrying the burden of a life threatening disease.  It is hard to rally a celebratory spirit when the realization that this is most likely their last Christmas together.

*The couple in their “rewarding years of their” retirement that has now been separated by illness, one at home, one in 24 hour care.

*The young mother who lost her child, husband and father all within months this year. If it weren’t for the concern of her other children she would forgo any hint of Christmas in the house.

*The parents who cannot afford to give their children gifts and don’t know how to explain that Santa won’t be visiting their home this year.


I have for 7 years been called to be ears to listen the painful needs, tragic losses, and despairing cries for help and then to speak those needs and receive the generous offers of assistance that can be channeled to meet and aid some of those trials and voids.  It has allowed me to be deepened in understanding and compassion by meeting so many at their most difficult hours, but further for them to become more than a story I relay to you but a friend. 


As I listened to this song and thought about those friends that we will be visiting on Christmas I had tears in my eyes thinking of the pain in so many of those homes.

At Christmas the resounding message is to “be happy”, “give”, “spread joy”.   What I hope this writing communicates is that some simply cannot bear the thought of celebrating Christmas, and for very justifiable reasons.  It is the most beautiful and true Gift of Unconditional Love to those aching, and to oneself, when your eyes, ears and heart are open to those who are painfully trying to mute out the sights and sounds of Christmas.  However to do that we must be non-conformists…..


“We run and run
We fill our schedules up
The gifts, the rush
Consume us all so much
Salvation army Santa’s ringing his bell
Giving us a little reminder
There’s a world that needs our help.” ~ “Somebody’s Angel”~ Mandisa



“I can’t wait until all of this Christmas Chaos is over.” If you have felt that you can’t wait for Dec 26th then you are in the majority of society.  To refuse to conform to the chaos and to meet the needs of those who struggle, we have to look beyond the pandemonium and busyness to the shadows and see the figures sitting outside of the caroling, the shopping, the dinner planning, and the holiday parties, then move into that perimeter and bring whatever light and love that we can.  Not to force them to feel as we feel they should but rather to meet them at their pain and do what we can to offer comfort and compassion. 

Simple offerings of light:  purchasing gifts for the children in those homes, donating to a cause that will assist the financially strained home, or making sure that in a home where completing the daily ritual of putting food on the table is painful & difficult we offer to provide the most amazing and well rounded meal that this home may have seen in a long time, if ever.  No one wants to be in need or in pain and they most definitely will not accept this meal for their family or for themselves if they could do it on their own.  I have gently nudged but I will never force, and it is absolutely amazing to hear the relief when I assure them that it is an unconditional gift and there will be plenty to offer and we just want to take the planning and purchasing of this meal off of their shoulders and provide as a act of kindness from friends to friends.

Then I turn to you and ask for you to help make this Christmas Gift possible, and for the past 7 years you have reached out to those sitting outside the joyous, festive chaos of preparations and celebrations and filled a table and home in need with food, hope and love. 


‘This Christmas
Don’t miss it
The chance to love someone right where they are”

~ “Somebody’s Angel”~ Mandisa



On Christmas Day Hope and Friendship will visit just over 60 homes within our community delivering fully cooked Christmas Dinners and a Care Box filled with personal and cleaning products.  If I could capture the appreciation, the tears of gratitude, and the offers of hope that they can someday return this act of kindness, it would be a bottle of inspiration that we surely could make a fortune on! 


If you would like to contribute to this project engaging the Christmas Spirit of giving and receiving I could use the following: 

fully cooked & packaged (in Ziploc (or the like) plastic storage containers) of side dishes, pastas, veggies, kid friendly food, potatoes, bread, Chinet Plates.  

All donations would need to arrive to the Lemont Township Office (1115 Warner Ave- behind Chipains) between 11am-1pm on Christmas Day.

For many homes this will be the most extravagant, healthiest and most complete meal they have had on their table this year.  Providing this meal also allows many to open their homes and spread your act of giving by inviting others that would’ve otherwise been alone on a day marked as one to gather & celebrate.  An early expression of the phrase of “the true meaning of Christmas” is found in The American magazine:

“to give up one’s very self — to think only of others — how to bring the greatest happiness to others — that is the true meaning of Christmas”


Let it be known that I have and continue to witness the “true meaning of Christmas” occurring in this corner of the world rippling through and around those fortunate and less fortunate.  May you be warmed and content in knowing that by bringing your light to the shadows you truly are a conduit of hope, compassion and “Somebody’s Angel”.




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