Do You Have Room this Christmas?
Just like the first Christmas, many individuals in our society will not have a room in the inn this year as good, clean, affordable housing has become unattainable for so many. For almost a decade, it was said by many housing analysts that most millennials had no interest in homeownership like the generations before them, and their focus on life was lifestyle, not housing. That point of view always seemed nonsensical to me, because it is the fundamental desire of every man or woman to eventually own a home of their own.
Then, there was a worldwide pandemic and the subsequent unrest of the summer of 2020 which showed this generation why their grandparents left the confines of urban life for suburbia. Owning a home has now become a dream again for millions, but the outrageous prices and shortage of available homes has put that dream out of reach for millions of prospective homeowners. This Christmas millions of Americans are facing housing insecurity or in many cases - homelessness. The fear of not knowing where you will lay your head is as gut wrenching as not knowing where your next meal will come from, and the lack of real empathy for those in need by the millions who own a home is disheartening.
Many families now have a family member in some form of housing insecurity, and this Christmas many people will be forced to move in with parents, other relatives, or friends. For those who have a home, you can’t compare your previous situation to those of this generation. Two decades ago, working families could afford a home, but with the current average home selling prices nearing $350,000 in Lake County, most average two-income families cannot afford a mortgage. Additionally, rental rates for apartments and other housing are skyrocketing monthly with excess fees on top of fees. Honestly, for working families, housing is dire.
This Christmas, if you know someone who is struggling with homelessness or housing insecurity, please consider opening your home to them, especially if they have children. It can be a frightening situation for a child that doesn’t know the security of having a bedroom of their own, and to feel the warmth, love, and safety of a home will make it a memorable Christmas more than any toy or trinket they are given.
As you attend Christmas services, please keep those families who have no home in your prayers. As a society, I pray that we become more empathetic to those who desperately want to have a place of their own, and that we strip the arrogance and callousness of our own good fortune away. It seems these days we ease our own conscious by looking for the one or two examples of those people who are gaming the system in order to justify our inaction toward those truly in need.
The vast majority of Americans who are in housing insecurity are those who work hard and try their best, but for whatever reason haven’t been able to get ahead. When you look at others, remember you haven’t walked in their shoes. Many people have never had the chance to own a home due to generational poverty, the scars of broken homes, systemic family addictions, or unimaginable misfortune that was beyond their control. As you look at these situations, you realize how truly blessed you are to own a home, and why you should open your heart to others.
If you get the call this Christmas from someone who is homeless, let it be said that you did have a room to share in your inn, and then you will find the true meaning of Christmas. Please have a Merry Christmas and a most blessed New Year.