The late Chicago newspaper columnist Mike Royko once shared the other side of the Christmas Story in one of his columns.
He told about a stranger who put $1,600 in gold coins in a Salvation Army kettle. The person placed the gift there quietly and anonymously. This is exactly the kind of story the media is looking for to demonstrate the spirit of caring that Christmas brings about.
Unfortunately there was a follow up story. The local Salvation Army office began getting phone calls about the gold coins. The coins were stolen. The thief had dropped them in the kettle to get rid of them.
So then, Royko told another story about a man driving home from work on Christmas Eve who saw a young boy fall through the ice in a nearby lake. The man stopped his car, jumped out, tore off his jacket and crawled out onto the ice. He managed somehow to save the drowning boy.
Happy ending, wouldn’t you say? Unfortunately the man discovered that while he was risking his life saving the boy, somebody in the crowd of onlookers stole his jacket and the envelope containing his Christmas bonus.
Unfortunately, we live in a sinful world. And even at Christmas, with the promise of peace and hope on our lips and in our hearts, that sinfulness is still present.
That sinfulness was personified in the first Christmas story by Herod. “Go and search diligently for the child,” Herod said to the wise men. “And when you have found him, come and bring me word, that I may worship him, too.” What a liar!! Unfortunately, we do not have to look very far to find Herods present in our world today.
As told by Billy Strayhorn
What is a “Happy Ending” to one of the events of your Christmas this year?