We started Lessons and Carols a few years ago, as a celebration that brought together our community and our philosophy.
When we look at men experiencing homelessness, we often see their homelessness first. Even when we discipline ourselves to see the man first, we see the man as he is now. We see the lack. We see the things he doesn’t have, the things he can’t do. And we often disregard the skills, talents, history, and culture that he carries within him.
Many of us grew up singing. Most of us grew up singing around the holidays. Many of our clients – our guests – are African American men who grew up in the church or in families where singing was a core part of emotional and faith-filled expression. We wanted to bring this into the Center, to make it part of the contemporary lived experience that honors a man’s culture, heritage, history, and self, and that allows his creativity and expression to be showcased to others.