Gay Man at Christmas and I am still standing and so are you

This day is not about being a Christian to me. I am not sure I am one and on another level I guess that means I am not a member of the club.

The day is obviously one that was established to celebrate the life of Jesus. I celebrate his life and many of his values. Those values are so far removed from what many in the Christian church preach today. So much of what they talk about is about excluding people, about casting the first stone.

Still this day is important to me. What does it mean to me and why am I comfortable in saying Merry Christmas?

The primary reason is this. People are friendlier, so many good news events take place, it is okay to talk about and give to those less fortunate than us, people are compassionate for awhile.

As a gay person I have been the subject of severe mental and physical abuse directly and indirectly, I remain strong, determined and unrelenting in my pursuit of love, affection, and belonging.
My assessment is straight (pun not intended) ahead. I have a large family, a family that recognized differences, that accepted everyone. We always had room for more at dinner and you were welcome to join us and it often happened.

The funny part here is that we were the poorest family and the largest on the block. We had rich kids come to be with us because they had experianced the feelings in the air. They knew it was the real thing.

My Dad was the garbage collector, Mom later went to work, not to mean she wasn't before, she had eight kids to look after. We lived in unfinished houses, wood heat and no running water. I was 16 before I had a shower.

The experiance of being poor has drawn me closer to many of Jesus' teachings. Looking out for each other, helping those you know and don't know, hearing people out and understanding we all make mistakes and that does not make you bad or evil.

Yet some how, many Christians today follow their "leaders" down a path of zealousness. So many are willing to cast the first stone. Heck they have cast a whole gravel pit at me and guess what, I am still standing.

I am standing for a reason. I am a person and that makes me important. I am a brother, son, grandson, uncle, partner, lover, friend, neighbour, co-worker and citizen.
Today when you have time, think about who you are and why you are important. If you are important so is that guy asking you for some change. There is a saying that goes "there by the grace of god go I." If each one of us took that saying to heart, this time together would have fewer heartbreaking stories.

You can interchange "god" with universe, love, community, goddess or Tim Horton's. The point without getting too silly is to accept differences, that every life is important and so are you.

Today I am spending Christmas with the most beautiful young woman in the world. She is my step daughter, Stephanie. Stephanie and her boyfriend Dennis and his mother are here with me. Today she is the most important thing in my life. She is important because she brings joy to those near her, she cares and I know I had a small part in who she is today.

So Jesus, the man who walked with those that were cast away, that preferred the poor to the rich, who accepted one and all, either through legend or fact set some good values to live by. You don't need to be a Christian to accept them either.
Merry Christmas to each of you, smile with someone you don't know today, if you are alone know that at least one person thinks you are important and my guess is, many more than that.

I am still standing and so are you.



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