And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Bush that all the land should be registered. This census first took place while Greg Nickels was King of Seattle. So all went up to be registered, everyone to his own city, but not those who did not have homes (because Caesar Bush had made new rules that did not allow them to be counted). At this time, Joseph went up from Puyallup into Belltown in Seattle, where he had stayed before, but discovered that their friends who had lived there in a low rent apartment had moved and the apartments replaced with a luxury condo project. Joseph’s betrothed wife, Mary, who was with child, had no prenatal care since Joseph had been laid off from his carpentry job (where his specialty cabinetry skills had been outsourced) and had lost their health insurance, as well as the home they had temporarily owned in Puyallup with the help of a sub-prime loan.
As they wandered between the cranes hovering above the new high-rise luxury condo towers, they looked in vain for an open shelter. But as Caesar Bush’s Program to End Homelessness had progressed, and fewer people met the new criteria of “homeless,” funding for shelters had been cut and shelters had been closed (even though more people were actually without a home).
Operation Nightwatch gave them a blanket but told them that the few remaining shelters were full. Joseph and Mary went to the Seattle Times, believing newspapers are supposed to “comfort the afflicted.” They had heard that editorialists and a learned woman at the newspaper had written something about the homeless camps. When they got to the newspaper, however, they learned that Nicole Brodeur had gone to Nordstrom’s to protest the loss of live music for shoppers. And the comfortable were comforted.
Onward they traveled until they reached a park where other men and women had gathered, and there they were welcomed and allowed to use a cave, where Mary had her baby. All the women and men offered their own blankets and scarves as swaddling cloths to keep the baby boy warm. Seeing this new life brought hope even in the darkest of nights. They called his name Jesus.
After Jesus was born in Seattle, in the days of Nickels the king, wise men from the east came, saying, “Where is he who is the newborn King, for we have seen his star in the east and have come to worship him?” When Nickels the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Seattle with him. He gathered all the chief politicians and scribes of the newspapers together, and enquired of them where the young King was to be born. When they told him a park in Seattle, he was troubled even more, for this was where the people lived who could not afford the “affordable housing” provided by the developers so they could build even higher luxury condo towers.
King Nickels sent the wise men to the park saying, “go and search carefully for the child, so I may come and worship him also.” When they heard the king, they departed and behold, the star, which they had seen in the east, went before them until it came and stood over the young child. When they came into the cave, they saw the young child with Mary his mother and fell down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented gifts to him: children’s Tylenol, hand warmers for his parents, and a Starbucks gift card.
Then being divinely warned that they should not return to Nickels, they departed for their own country another way.
Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young child and his mother and flee; for King Nickels’ men seek to “sweep” the park, drive away the people and destroy their belongings”. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother, by night, and departed for…. where?
3 thoughts on “And It Came to Pass in Those Days…”
Just as I was feeling spiritually bereft this Christmas, I stumbled upon this brilliant piece of storytelling. Thanks, Susanne. Would love to post a link on my blog, http://invisible-homeless-kids.blogspot.com/
It must be San Francisco.