In December, we’ll be highlighting some of our favorite holiday poems and writings. This essay by Juliana Harris was published in the Kansas City Star in 2006.
CHRISTMAS AT SAINT PAUL’S
“While there is time,” Dr. Trelease, the Rector of Saint Paul’s Church, would say, “let us do good to all men, especially those that are of the kingdom of heaven,”
I’m sure the orphans from the City Union Mission were of the kingdom of heaven, but they certainly put a damper on my Christmas spirit. They would arrive in a green school bus on the Sunday before Christmas to have dinner and be given gifts that we, the Sunday school children, would provide. The orphans made me miserable. They were perfectly nice in their hand-me-down clothes, and that just made it worse. They didn’t have a mommy or a daddy for goodness sake! What could I say to them? I could barely bring myself to look at them, let alone speak. They seemed to enjoy themselves but when the end of the evening came and they boarded their bus, I stood in front of the church watching the red taillights disappear, heading for home with a heavy heart.
What kind of Christmas were they going to have? Would they have presents from Santa? Would he come down the chimney at the Mission? Was there a chimney at the Mission? Oh dear! These thoughts crowded my brain as I trudged through the snow but once I got home, all gloom vanished in anticipation of the glories of Christmas morning,
A Christmas hasn’t gone by since that I don’t remember those winking taillights and the passengers within. I like to think they went on to have many happy Christmases of their own. I know they taught me a valuable lesson: “While there is time, let us do good to all men, especially those that are of the kingdom of heaven.”