I have worked with Citygate Network, North America’s oldest and largest community of independent, faith-based crisis shelters and life transformation centers, for several years. The work done by this organization and its members on behalf of unhoused people is legendary.
As part of their holiday campaign in 2022, I was honored to make some art for their social media content — nothing like a bit of lettering practice! So I thought it would be cool to reinterpret “The Night Before Christmas” from the perspective of those living rough on the streets.
Something also made me think of the night when Jesus was born. His parents had to shelter in a stable with no warm bed or pillow. No chance to have a comfortable place to sleep; it’s not even like they had a room. It occurred to me that the story of the Nativity shares many similarities with a story that unhoused friends deal with daily.
So as part of my preparation for their post, I wrote the following poem.
Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the streets,
Not a creature was stirring; those unhoused did sleep.
Their bags and their carts were all hidden away,
In hopes that their goods and possessions would stay.
But what to their wondering eyes did appear,
A worker of hope to bring holiday cheer.
“The mission is open; the beds are all made.
There’s plenty of coffee and hope served today.”
So, they gathered their items and traveled downtown,
The mission, in Jesus’ name, welcomed the crowd.
“A baby was born on this night long ago,
In a manner like yours was his first night below.
So to honor the Christ-child this dark, sacred night,
We offer you shelter and His Holy life.”
Enjoy this video and the final art piece. I hope you and yours have a Merry Christmas and Prosperous New Year!