Tis the Season   1 comment

Each year as Christmas approaches, I like many others, find the true spirit of Christmas missing in western culture. It is true,  our Saviour’s birth is often overshadowed by commercialism, but it occurs to me this Christmas Eve, during tough economic times and global uncertainty, that there is another very real cultural blind spot.

When visiting Charleston, SC for the first time this year, venturing off into a historic cemetery, I literally stumbled upon the gentleman you see in this picture. My immediate reaction was one of fear and yet I stood there, frozen, transfixed on his posture and his hands: a working man’s hands. I stood there long enough to take a few pictures and left him undisturbed, but I was not. There is a fine line in images of the poor and destitute that can cross into exploitation. That is not my intent here. Rather, as I reflect on the gifts I have in my life and the significance of the birth of Christ, I see this as a reminder of those blessings and how we are called to share them.

This time of year the phone rings for requests for charity, many which are left unanswered and ignored. I am as guilty as the next person in getting grumpy about how rude it is to be disturbed as I joyfully digest what is on my full plate.

This Christmas, there are plenty of reasons to complain, to get grumpy and to blame others for our ills. I’ll try to remember this man in Charleston when I complain. I hope that the inspiration of his presence in my life, albeit for one fleeting moment, reminds me not only to be thankful for my many blessings, but also to share them. If you are so inspired, I encourage you to give to your local food bank. There are many in our very own communities who are in need.

Merry Christmas to all of you, a safe and happy New Year and may the spirit of giving and thanks fill your hearts as we celebrate His birth.


Posted December 24, 2011 by Paul Coffin in Street Photography

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One response to “Tis the Season

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  1. Paul, if you fear you do not have a way with words let me tell you your message is clear, to the place where it will move people. The ultimate action words provide. Merry Christmas to my kind hearted brother. I love you. Ann

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