Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011 in Los Angeles

The above picture has to be one of the most unusual outdoor home Christmas decorations I have ever seen. The flower in the foreground is a white rose. John and I have an expression which we often say to each other while driving around Los Angeles: "it can only happen in this town". We started our Christmas day attending services at First Lutheran Church in Northridge (aka Life House). During the sermon Pastor Dana Hanson commented that we are only "a wood shaving away" from being like God. According to the Bible we are made a bit lower than the angels. About that time a scraggly haired bearded man wandered into the church noisily and sat down. He did not stay very long but soon wandered back outside to sit until the church served a dinner for the community at 2PM. John and I helped with that dinner, it was the first time we had ever participated in assisting with a meal of that nature. Fortunately the church has been giving the dinner for many years so for a few of us newbies it was easy to fit in and be helpful. As the people filed in for the dinner I thought about the pastor's sermon. Many of  the people were quite unkempt and dirty. Some were obviously mental disturbed and/or retarded. A few were on crutches or in wheelchairs. There was also a blind man and a man with one arm. All my brothers and sisters, like me, created in the image of God. Many nervously clutched all the possessions they owned in plastic bags, or carried  suitcases. One man agreed to put his bag on a chair when I promised to watch it while he stood in line for the food. And they ate voraciously, piling their plates high and returning for second and thirds. Little food was wasted. We sent many out the door later with take-out boxes of food. They said that they had friends and family to whom they wanted to bring food. During the course of the afternoon I found some of the women guests in the bathroom washing themselves. A lady commented to me that she was so thankful for warm water and soap. I found all of the people very appreciative. We served about 80 men, women and a few children. We not only gave them food but socks, blankets and toiletry items. After it was all over I felt good thinking that perhaps a small number of homeless people in Los Angeles that night were going to have full tummies and warm bodies. We had a great Christmas day and spending time that evening with our son Mike added a special bonus to our day!

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