, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
Let me tell you a tale about two different Christmases. Each Christmas happened this year and each is very special in its own way. Allow me to explain.
This weekend, on Friday, I believe, Nike released the newest and latest version of their ever so popular "Air Jordan" athletic shoes. These "Air Jordans" created such a frenzy that there were mobs and violence in some places, as frantic "Black Friday" shoppers tried to purchase a pair of the shoes. From a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, here are some of the reports on the chaos:
* In suburban Seattle, police used pepper spray on about 20 customers who started fighting at the Westfield Southcenter mall. An 18 year old man was arrested after he punched an officer.
* A man was stabbed when a brawl broke out between several people waiting in line at a Jersey City, New Jersey mall to buy the new shoes, authorities said. The 20-year-old man was expected to recover from his injuries.
* In Richmond, California, police say crowds waiting to buy the Air Jordan 11 Retro Concords at the Hilltop Mall were turned away after a gunshot rang out around 7 a.m.
* In Taylor, Michigan, about 100 people forced their way into a shopping center around 5:30 a.m., damaging decorations and overturning benches. Police say a 21-year-old man was arrested.
* In Lithonia, Georgia, at least four people were apparently arrested after customers broke down a door at a store selling the shoes. DeKalb County police said up to 20 squad cars responded.
Meanwhile, in Austin, Texas, in the morning hours of December 25th, Alan Graham, CEO of nonprofit Mobile Loaves and Fishes hit the streets of Austin in his food truck, distributing hot meals, clean clothing, and hygiene products to those in need. The news reported that, "Instead of opening presents under the tree, dozens of Austin families chose to give back on Christmas day." The Christmas morning route wrapped up around 10:00 a.m. with breakfast at IHOP, a Christmas tradition for the folks who volunteer with Mobile Loaves and Fishes.
Now, I can't speak for you, but I know for certain which Christmas I would have preferred to be a part of this year.
From the website for Mobile Loaves and Fishes: Our mission is to provide uncompromising love and hospitality to our brothers and sisters in need. We do this by empowering a league of volunteers in providing food, clothing, and promoting dignity to our homeless brothers and sisters in need. We accomplish this mission through the creation of relationships that cultivate a community life of stability and purpose.
MEALS SERVED: 2,840,492
TOTAL VOLUNTEERS: 16,368
This Christmas season, you have a choice. You can either be a part (maybe only a small part) of the first Christmas. Even if you don't get Air Jordans for yourself or your loved ones, you can go and help trample people at the mall or opt to be a part of the commercialism that the holiday has become, or you can opt to participate in "Christmas Number 2" and actually remember the spirit of the season. Now, I'm sure there are those out there who feel the pressing need to get themselves a new pair of Air Jordans because, after all, they have to, they just have to "fit in." But, maybe those people should really be asking themselves if, instead of "fitting in" with the "Air Jordan" crowd, maybe they should try "fitting in" with the 16,368 volunteers who actually made a difference in somebody's life this holiday season.
In case you need any additional persuasion, one of the people fed by the Mobile Loaves and Fishes food truck was a man who identified himself as "Shorty." Also from the website: Shorty, a homeless man, said he’s very appreciative of the service and, while this holiday season is bright, that has not always been the case.
"There's been times when I felt so bad I didn't care about the holidays anymore," Shorty said. "It's pretty much only one time out of the year that I can pretty much celebrate.”
Those Air Jordan's cost $180 a pair. I wonder how many homeless people the good folks over at Mobile Loaves and Fishes could feed with that kind of money, don't you? This holiday season, I'm very happy to hear that somebody gets it. It's a sign, albeit a small sign, that things are moving in the right direction. Maybe next Christmas, we can all strive to avoid the shopping malls completely and instead opt to hang with the Mobile Loaves and Fishes crowd.
They really are the coolest kids in town and, no, they don't need any special shoes to prove it.
Until next time...