“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn (Luke 2.7).”
On Christmas eve we will hear these familiar words as we celebrate the birth of Christ. We will celebrate that God is with us; that we are not alone. Last night these words came to mind as my family and I gathered with others at Washington Park to remember all those who have died as a result of homelessness in the last year. For the first time on record, more people (72) died of homelessness than died of homicide (60) in Cincinnati 2016. For many in our city, there is literally “no place for them” and the results are deadly. The average age of those who died is 50. Many of the people who gathered knew the people who had died. They knew the ups and downs of their lives and their dream of having a place of their own.
As we celebrate Christmas, let us remember that Jesus began his life in a place without adequate housing. Let us pray that those who have “no place” in our city this Christmas will know that God is with them. And let us pray that the Church and larger society will follow God’s lead and the find the political will to end this tragedy by building more affordable housing.