Christmas under frenzied skies

Asheville won’t exactly re-enact the Christmas story, the original one of Bethlehem, though the main characters and theme of “homeless seeking shelter” will be there; and in this 2008 version of the ancient story, the hungry will have a role as well.

No single star will be there to guide and give a measure of peace. Eyes will not see and ears will not hear the wrenching moans of deprivation, because there will be three nights of pyrotechnics—bombs bursting and filling the sky with distraction—thanks to a $40,000 gift to the city. The fireworks are intended to put “sizzle” into the downtown Christmas shopping season.

Let the homeless whimper and the hungry moan, because for all Asheville cares, it has no room or time for either. Those without space can be left to shiver while wandering, looking to hunker down in whatever niche will have them. They will be victims of the same indifferent no-room-at-the-inn hospitality of the original story.

How sad it is that the story of “love thy neighbor” that began with a whimper may end now with a bang under a frenzied sky. No single star will be there to offer guidance and hope. Signs of promise and peace will be sizzled to smithereens.

Boom, boom, boom. That’s all.

— Jim Kalbaugh
Asheville

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