Do they know it’s Christmas?

By Meghan Merkel
November 30, 2000

by Meghan Merkel

The night before Thanksgiving is the biggest bar night of the year. It was going to be a great night,well some old school fun at least. Yet another night of blurry memories, glory days that came too soon.

The caravan parked the cars and the group huddled together and headed for one of the most popular bars in the city. Our biggest concern was who could get into the warmth the quickest, it was absolutely freezing outside. A girlfriend of mine donned a long black skirt, and we laughed as it got caught in a gust of wind and flew up in the air. She caught it just in time.

On our short adventure, right before reached the safe haven of the flashing neon bar sign, a man stepped out of the shadows. Mostly everyone kept moving.

He had been lurking in an alley way. He grimaced at the light and glanced quickly to his dark corner, as if making a fast decision. The man began mumbling something incoherently. Some of my girlfriends gasped, but mostly everyone ignored him and hurried on.

I hesitated. His dark face was chapped from many long nights out in the bitter cold, probably that very alley way. He wore trash bags over his frayed and rumpled clothes.

He began a quiet whimper, then it progressed to a wailing. My best friend immediately got out his wallet and gave the man money. I watched, taking the entire scene to heart.

My other friends laughed, yelled “sucker” and continued on their merry way to a night of careless banter and reckless abadonment. The nameless man again made some incoherent sound, but let out a cry of relief. As my friend and I turned and walked away he stared down at the money and in a hushed voice he whispered, “Merry Christmas.” This soft and subtle message almost stopped me dead in my tracks. My friend pulled me along.

We did the bar thing, the socializing thing. All my high-school friends were exactly the same, parading around with similar views on life. Same scene, different year. With all the chaotic commotion I couldn’t shake the moment of that occurence.

“Merry Christmas” he had said. Did he know how kind my best friend was, and if it was the middle of June he would have done the same?

This brought up the discussions we had in SEM 300 class. (Individualism and the common good) Why does the giving spirit only begin in November and end in December? Don’t get me wrong the holidays are definitely a time of reflection and an oppportunity for generosity. But the unfortunate are unfortunate all year round, not just during the month of Christmas. It is cold so many nights for that man, as we just caught a glimpse of his life as we pass on our way to our entertainment.

The moral?


As humans we have a responsibility to our brothers and sisters who need us. We are their keeper.

Donate. Give. Volunteer.

Have an extraordinary holiday season, and without the risk of sounding cliche, share yourself and your time, not only when the Salvation Army bell rings outside the mall, but throughout the year.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Meghan Merkel

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Special Project

Title IX Redefined Website

Produced by Cabrini Communication
Class of 2024

Listen Up

Season 2, Episode 3: Celebrating Cabrini and Digging into its Past


Scroll to Top
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap