Can you imagine being homeless at the holidays? I share this story in the spirit of the season and to say a special thanks for all those who care for shelter guests, or raise funds to make that care possible. 

Christmas Angels

The young boy sobbed mournfully, inconsolably. He was in an unfamiliar place, with unfamiliar people. In an autistic existence where routine meant security, nothing felt right for the six-year-old boy now. He, his mom, and four siblings (one 11, one 10, one eight, and one just six weeks) were homeless. They came to this shelter for a safe place to stay, with safe people who would care for them until they could find a solution to their trauma.

Yet now, despite the best efforts of the boy’s mother, nothing would console Bobby (not his real name). The one thing that had always brought Bobby comfort—the scent of Lavender—was not among the few items they carried with them now. Every guest and volunteer in the room felt the boy’s anguish, and from all accounts, were at odds about how best to help him. …All but one. A young teen in shelter did the only thing she could think of doing. She went through the small toiletry items donated by supporters, and she searched until she found a lotion she thought might pass for lavender. She brought the bottle to the distraught mother, who in turn began to rub the lotion on Bobby’s skin. Within minutes, the boy’s sobbing receded and he rested comfortably now next to his mother and siblings.

This small act of caring, from one child in shelter to another, restored some order to Bobby’s world, and provided relief and hope to a parent in dire need. Christmas angels come in all shapes and sizes. They come seeking from us compassion. And they come to provide us with it, too.