It started nearly 2,000 years ago with a couple who were, if not homeless, at least between homes and down on their luck.

Joseph and Mary were traveling to pay taxes in his native city. If they'd lived today, they would probably have slept in their car. Along the way, Mary had a baby in the most humble of surroundings.Like arguably the most famous family in history, men, women and children who live on Utah streets and in Utah shelters still rely on the kindness of strangers for food, for clothing, for shelter from the weather. For survival. There are thousands of Utahns who have a roof but little else. They need help, too.

Christmas is the closest we've come as a society to an official moment of introspection, followed by reaching out to those around us.

Those with less. No home. No riches or glory. Only the property they can carry wtih them. Or a home maintained by a tenuous grasp on solvency.

But being without things doesn't mean being without dreams.

If you ask, they'll tell you. If you listen, you'll hear a host of simple requests.

Shirley Guerrero has two beautiful children and a roof over her head. But she's dreaming of toys from Santa Claus on Christmas morn.

Dawna Kidd just wants to find her brother, who is homeless. She left her Rose Park neighborhood to pace the street in front of the shelter, hungry for a sight of him.

Sandy and Brent Bell have a few hopes: Brent just got laid off. Money's tight and it's hard to provide for the kids at home. Their granddaughter Nicole believes Santa will come. They hope she's right. Is there room in his sled for a job?

Stevan Key likes to give during the holidays. A carpenter who's into the spirit of the season, he's decked out his bike with Christmas ornaments and artificial pointsettias. He eats at the soup kitchen, but can always find something to give those who have even less than he does.

Larry Blair has everything he needs. While staying at the homeless shelter, he was reunited with his father, whom he lost track of a long time ago. That's all he wanted. This Christmas, he'll go to the hills, read his Bible and think about the meaning of the day.

Leo Sheehan's wish may be harder for Santa to satisfy. He wants someone to care. His mother and sister are dead. He's lonely.

Earl Williams is lonely, too. He has brothers and sisters who no longer know him, who no longer care. Maybe someone else will.

Hope is a beacon that pierces the season. Maybe this will be the year...