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This morning, as I was coming to work, I was listening to National Public Radio. And they had a story that I found both interesting and touching. Now, it was something from Story Corps, a national project in which real people record their own stories either by themselves or with someone else. And this morning, the story about how two men in Nashville, Tennessee had saved the life of a three-month-old girl, when her mother, while holding her daughter, attempted suicide by jumping off the Shelby Street Bridge into the Cumberland River. All this happened on Christmas Eve, 1956, and it was being told by the daughter and one of the men. According to what the woman said, her mother suffered from mental illness which led to this horrible situation. But thanks to these two men, both the mother and daughter survived, with the mother eventually getting the treatment she needed and living a full life. And the daughter had grown up, having a family of her own, something that would have never happened without these men whom she didn’t meet until much later.
And second, it seems to me that God put us in positions and has given us the opportunity to help these suffering men and women. Now I’m really not suggesting that we can save them; there’s only been one savior. But even if we can’t redeem them from their pain, we can certainly help them endure it. I mean we can surely stand with them as they pass through their frustrations and fears. And we can surely show by both our words and actions that they are not alone and that they’re problems haven’t become a scarlet letter separating them from others. And as Christian brothers and sisters, we can pray with and for them, and we can do what we can to demonstrate that they can reach out to us and that we care and that we’ll listen. You see, like those men went into a cold river sixty years ago, we can step away from what we might consider comfortable so that we can become God’s instruments within the lives of others.
Now I hope I’m never in the situation that was described in the story. But even if we’re not, we can still make a difference to folks who need help and who need hope. And so, as we make our final preparations to celebrate the birth of Jesus, let’s be willing to follow his words and reach out to the least of these who are members of our human family.