an elderly Russian couple taking plate by plate with cake and even more cake and letting all of it disappear in the depths of the grocery bags between their legs.

a Somali woman with her two sons “success” and “love”, granting them the kind of Christmas that allows for them to share their experience with others in school after winter break. without her husband knowing.

a woman avoiding this holiday–she has done so for 20 years–ever since her husband left her for a new partner of the same age and grade of their joint son.

a woman with six children and the ambition of making everything possible for them in this life, without the support of either of their fathers.

an anti-natalist who once studied philosophy in the hopes of cerebrally cracking the biggest mysteries of life when really, all along, he may have been searching for the feeling of love.

a woman with her four-year-old daughter frequently giving each of them a different name, perhaps in the hopes of protecting their identity out there in the streets.

a couple of men from Egypt who’d arrived with dreams and settled with a different reality, nonetheless trying to make the best of things.

all these stories were told on Christmas;

however, these are merely single stories

I grasped in the short amount of time

we spent with these folks.

in order to tell all stories of all people

and return to them the dignity

they seem to have been robbed off

takes a lifetime.

and since that isn’t possible for any single human,

we have faith to bridge the gap

from one story to all the others

that could’ve been told;

it grants us a new imagination

for all the unlikely things to occur

and expand our regular frame of reference.

that’s one message of Christmas. 

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