Christmas time is here…

yJBW_6300pWhen I first saw this image and captured it, I saw it as a contrast between the crass commercialism of Christmas displayed in the department store window and the reality of what actually exists for many people on the streets everywhere. However, after stepping back from the image for a while, I came to realize that it was less an image of contrast and more of one of connection. When I was growing up in the mid-1960s and into the 70s, the Christmas season for me didn’t begin until Charles Schultz’s wonderful program, “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, had aired on CBS. I recall the feeling of watching the Peanuts gang ice skating and dancing to the music of Vince Guaraldi, Snoopy decorating his doghouse, and Charlie Brown’s quixotic quest for the perfect Christmas tree. But the highlight of the show was Linus’ eloquent discourse on the true meaning of Christmas. He confronted that crass commercialization of the season by pointing out that its real meaning lies with the celebration of the birth of a man who ultimately sacrificed his life in the helping of others in need. This image – the homeless military vet sitting next to the cheerily decorated Peanuts-themed department store window – had transformed in meaning to represent the connection between a powerful message of hope and charity and the very people for whom that message was meant to service. (From the “Chicago, December 2015” series)

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