Starbucks – 3pm
I waited five hours for the church doors to open. I even slept on the doorsteps for an hour. When the doors opened, I finally entered. I felt a bit out of place. This large church is located in the west end of downtown, which is a more wealthy area. To be honest, I am not sure if many homeless people enter this church.
I walked in with my large garbage bag and sat in the back. I expected a larger crowd. It is Christmas Eve after all. But instead, few people attended this service. Only the first three rows were filled in this over-sized church. Is it because the service isn’t as good as it used to be, or is it because people do not believe in God anymore? There must have been a reason to have this church built this size.
I moved to sit closer to the front and put my garbage bag next to me. Few people acknowledged my existence; others may have felt uncomfortable of my presence. One thing was for sure, I stood out as the only homeless man there. Maybe I wasn’t received warmly because I was attending a parents and toddler event?
The priest introduced the puppet show to the kids. This puppet show mimicked the birth of Christ. During the puppet show, the priest announced that today was a very special day. It was the day before Jesus was born. He said that “three things happen on birthdays. One, songs are sung. Two, gifts are given; this must have been the cue to pass around the money tray. Three, cake is eaten”. There were mini cupcakes given out at the exit door.
It didn’t take too long for the money trays to be filled. I couldn’t hear a single coin drop, because everybody was throwing five or ten dollar bills into the tray. The money tray had no reason to be near me since I had no money to give and I could have been labeled as a potential thief.
On the way out I was asked if there were any cupcakes available. One of the church members laughed and said “oh so you thought there was cake? Those are for the kids only”. It looked like there were enough mini cupcakes to go around. Two hours ago, while I was sitting at the church’s front steps waiting for the service to begin, a woman offered me a hot chocolate along with a ham sandwich. But now that I am inside this church, mini cupcakes could not be offered to a homeless man who is turning himself towards God? And all of this after money trays were stuffed with 5 and 10 dollar bills?