Friday, December 18, 2009

A Christmas Injustice

Julian is 91 years old. He moves slowly using his walker to reach the breakfast table. Pouring honey over his oats, he reflects on his many years of employment in the textile field.

Sophie is 88 years old. She pours herself a bowl of cereal and wonders about the children she cared for during her tenure at a day care.

It’s Christmas and no one comes.

Julian and Sophie still live in the same home they’ve had for 30-plus years. A son now stays to make sure they are cared for daily. They are not  bed-ridden and able to care for themselves to a great extent. They are mobile, but use wheelchairs on visits to doctor’s appointments and other outings.

It’s Christmas and no one comes.

The couple has been married for 71 years. They have four children, nine grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren; and two great great-grandchildren. The children all live in the same town, as do most of the grandchildren.

It’s Christmas and no one comes.

Julian and Sophie have been members of their community church their entire married life. Julian served as a deacon for more than 40 years, while Sophie helped with Sunday schools and taught Vacation Bible Schools for many years. They no longer attend services, not wanting to bother anyone that would have to carry them. The couple and another lady in the community are the oldest living members of the church that is located a mile from their home.

The church is very active. They send congregation members on missionary trips to other states to help during disasters. They send missionaries overseas to assist with people in need. Congregation members go on retreats and are active with various programs at the church throughout the year.

It’s Christmas and no one comes.

“Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD.” .. Leviticus 19:32

At this time of year everyone talks of Christmas spirit and the desire to help others. Yet, no one visits. A sad story. What makes it even sadder is that it’s a true story.

I know these people. What breaks my heart is that first, their own grandchildren don’t come to see them or even call. And second, the church doesn’t show any compassion or respect for the elderly of their congregation, even at Christmas. No church members, no deacons and not even the pastor stops by to see how they are doing.

I tell you this story in hopes it might inspire you to spend some time with an elderly neighbor or relative you haven’t seen in awhile. If you attend church or if you’re a member of a social organization, make plans to connect with an elderly member of the group that no longer attend.

The time you spend doesn’t have to be long. A quick visit of 5 or 10 minutes can make a difference and be something the elderly talk about for months to come. Just because that person has a large family doesn’t always mean they don’t need visitors. Families don’t visit like they should.

This is my rant for the holiday season. Thanks for listening.

Do you visit with family and friends? Does your church or organization acknowledge the elderly of the group?


  1. Mason - Thanks for sharing this story. One of the things I think is so fascinating is the way different cultures view the elderly. In many cultures, older members are highly respected sought-out; it would be unthinkable not to care for them and spend time with them. As your post reminds us, that's not true of all cultures.

  2. I'm afraid you're right Margot. At times most of our culture seems not to think of the elderly at all. That's sad because we can learn so much from them if we just listen.

  3. Yesterday my son's jazz band went to 2 retirement homes to play concerts. I went along. The residents were so THRILLED. I started to cry, and I'm not a crying person.

    I'm a big fan of the elderly though (a reason I write them.) We can learn so much from them and they have WORTH!

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  4. So true Elizabeth, they do have worth and so much to teach if we take the time to listen. I'm sure they will be talking about the concert for months to come. Your son's jazz band did a WONDERFUL thing.

  5. Rant away - this is the type of behavior that pushes my buttons, too. A member of our family will be 97 on Sunday. He lives several states away, so I can't be there for the celebration, but we've sent cards and we stay in touch by phone and email. Yes, he's computer literate.

  6. That's wonderful Carol. Best wishes for your family member. I know cards and phone calls mean a lot too. You're making connect with that person that's the important thing. This couple I mentioned, their grandchildren (who are grown) don't even send cards for special occasions.

  7. All our family is thousands of miles away, still that doesn’t mean we can’t find those who deserve some kindness and attention…even from strangers, maybe best of all from strangers.

    Best Regards, Galen.

    Imagineering Fiction Blog

  8. Sad story indeed, made more poignant by its being a true one, and sorrowfully, not uncommon. Christmas is not a day on the calendar, it is a state of mind. It's about LOVE, the all encompassing, forgiving, caring, nonjudgmental compassion for all beings that Christ taught us through His example. And yes, to be in the Christmas Spirit is not to just give and receive baubles and gifts from close friends and family, it is to give on one's self freely to others - all others.

    For what merit is it to do good unto friends and those that do good unto you? Do not the wicked do the same?

    Love your blog, I'll be back. Thanks for visiting my blog today.

    Marvin D Wilson

  9. Wonderful post. Made me cry. My parents are both dead, but one of the highlights of the holidays and in-between was visiting them and having them over. Having multiple generations together is wonderful. Families live so far apart in today's world.

  10. Galen, sometimes I think strangers give more of themselves than family members do.

    Old Silly, I agree with you so much. The Christmas spirit should be about giving freely of oneself more than the material things and it should be done throughout the year. Thanks for stopping by, enjoy your blog very much.

  11. Helen, both my parents are dead too so I guess that's another reason this saddens me so. These family members don't understand how fortunate they are. Can you image some of the stories that could be shared with this five-generation family? Thanks for stopping by.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.