WTFWJD: The True Meaning of Christmas is Namaste

Namaste.

I bow to the divine in you.
The divine in me honors the divine in you.
We are all divine.
We are all the same.
We are all one.
Namaste = reason for the season.

This isn’t some hippy bullshit I saw on a calendar in a food co-op. This is real.

Let me explain….

The day after Christmas, my husband took our dog for a walk while I stayed home. When he returned, he brought a woman into our home and said, “Em, this is G— and we’re going to help her.” Without knowing who she was or why she was in our home, I hugged her and let her cry. She cried like I have never cried in my life.

While my husband ran to the store for food, we sat together. She slowly unclutched the papers she was holding that proved her veteran status and began to talk between bouts of intense crying. After 14 years of service, including active duty in Desert Storm, she was injured in an accident that put her in a coma. Six days later, she woke up in a hospital bed with a medical discharge and a brain injury that gives her seizures. She was transferred to our town to get medical aid but the transition had a three-day gap in housing that happened to fall over Christmas. She was 24 hours away from having a new home on the base, flat broke, and lost in a strange town with her 14-year-old daughter.

Her Christmas was miserable. She went from shelter to shelter in the rain looking for assistance. Some could not help because she is not on welfare. Others said she and her daughter could spend the night, but they would have to leave all their belongings outside the shelter. A Catholic church denied them shelter on Christmas Day because they aren’t Catholic. After all this, a staff member at the Salvation Army took them into her home until she could move to the base. Trying to keep it together in front of her daughter, she endured tremendous judgement. She was exhausted, hungry, broke, and ready to give up until she met my husband on the street near our home. She was embarrassed and humiliated by this experience.

After we parted ways, my husband asked me, “What would you like to do today?” I thought of Jesus taking on the moneychangers at the temple and responded: “Find that church and give them a piece of my mind.”

Around this time of year, people like to talk a lot about Jesus. The story goes that Mary and Joseph were mandated to travel to their hometown right as she was about to deliver. They were denied a play to stay inn after inn. Finally, someone let them stay with the animals. Mary gave birth in a manger – that’s where animals eat. I really doubt it was clean and beautiful like in a crèche. It probably stunk. The animals probably freaked when she cried out in pain. Yes, pain. I’m sure even the Virgin Mary had a painful birthing process. Being a pregnant virgin, she probably had to break her hymen in childbirth – double ouch.

What’s the real moral of this story – Star of Wonder or namaste?

Did the person who denied G— and her daughter shelter on Christmas Day tell this story to parishioners? Did the people who judged this woman sit in a pew, communion in their belly, and tsk the inn keepers who turned away Jesus Christ the Son of God? I wonder if they sang “Away in a Manger”?

WTF do would Jesus, Mary, and Joseph do?

Jesus lived namaste. He showed kindness to people who were regularly treated like garbage – lepers, prostitutes, etc. Jesus teaches that we are all the same. We are all people who need love and are all capable of loving. We are all human beings separated by choice, opportunity, and circumstance. We are all one brain injury away from being a woman looking for shelter on Christmas Day.

For me, the real reason for the season is a reminder to live namaste all the time. We are all people in need, just in different ways with different capacities to help each other out. This year, let’s really go out and do good things – radical love. Take it to the streets. Smile at strangers. if someone in need asks for money and you have some, give. If you pass a person spare changing outside of a grocery store, come out with a sandwich. Sure, some people exaggerate their need, but don’t we all sometimes?

How many times do we yogis say namaste in a year? Let’s start to really live it, just like Jesus.

2 thoughts on “WTFWJD: The True Meaning of Christmas is Namaste

  1. In all fairness, I volunteer at a Catholic warming shelter, and I am not doubting your reporting, just that I would call it a massive generalization to label all the others trying to do good. And an unfair one. The only thing we ask is that they stay in for the night – that the doors are locked after lights out, for safety. And I saw a parish in Seattle coordinating three shelters: Homeless, Abused Women, and Families. It was a good thing to see.

    Most importantly, you dialed in What Jesus WOULD do. If they ask for your tunic hand them your cloak as well. Hard to do. As a Desert Storm Era Veteran, and a Catholic who is trying, I want to thank you for helping G & her daughter out. THAT is the spirit of Christmas.
    Happy New Year!

    1. Michael, thank you so much for your comment, the great work you do at the shelter and your service to our country. I by no means intended to generalize but to comment on the people who turned this specific woman away. You sound like someone who really honors the teachings of your church – thank you! Here’s to all of us who keep on trying in hopes of inspiring others to try, too. Namaste.

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