Happy Christmas 2007. One of the really special things that happens here in Columbus on Christmas day is a thing called Bethlehem on Broad Street. For the last 20 years, the First Congregational Church downtown has been serving a first-class hot dinner, on china with real silverware and tablecloths, to anyone who walks, wheels or is carried through their doors. They serve about 1000 meals every Christmas. The tables in the parish hall seat about 130 people, so, as you might imagine, there are considerable amounts of people from all walks of life milling about waiting for a seat to come free. This is such a remarkable experience that I wanted to share this with you, whoever you are.

I made this recording just a few hours ago. It was recorded in various parts of the church. This Christmas Day, the sky is completely clear, and the sun shines warmly on the frozen, frosty cityscape. It really is a beautiful day. I began recording about 9:45 AM. It starts with me outside walking up to the church steps and sidewalk area. There are dozens of people milling about, drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes, caring for unhappy children and catching up with old friends, accompanied by the sounds of traffic on Broad street.

There is a tent set up outside, with some kerosene heaters and chairs inside. There are half a dozen multi-gallon coffee urns continuously dispensing that wonderful, hot, black suspension so well loved and craved by so many of us. After a little time enjoying the clear, crisp Christmas morning air, I went inside the church where there were hundreds of people making themselves quite at home. It was a remarkable sight. I am sure that the recording will help you understand why this event has fostered its own nickname: Bedlam on Broad Street.

Dec-25-2007-part1.mp3, Stereo, 128kbits encoding, 16.2MB, 17:19

Whoever you are, where ever you are, I wish you peace.