Just when the King Streetcar was beginning to become “king” again, it’s become packed and difficult to ride again. But, of course it is just that time of the year, and the 504 King Car, and more recently, the 514 Cherry car, are the best ways to get to the Toronto Christmas Market, selected as one of the “World’s 10 Best Holiday Markets,” in the historic Distillery District.
As anxious shoppers pack these streetcars as they hurry to meet some deadline to purchase that special piece that will be the perfect gift for someone so cherished, or to see the overhead twinkling lights, to hear the sound of carollers bouncing off the old Victorian industrial buildings, to savour the smell of wood burning in some fireplace while warming up with a cup of cocoa, all in memory of a birth that took place two thousand years ago, they rush past those who hope and beg for just a crumb, looking very much like that couple from so long ago, hoping to find a room in the inn.
The Distillery District did not always look like this. I remembered looking at a window in one of those dark buildings and saw how the light broke in from one of its panes, seeming to fill the room with some sense of daring, throwing an insult to the darkness, showing it for what it is and inviting the viewer to swim in its waves of light.
The prophet said:
Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice,
To undo the thongs of the yoke,
To let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry And bring the homeless poor into your house;
When you see the naked to cover them and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn
And your healing shall spring up quickly. [Isaiah 58:1-9a]