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The Rev. Edward Colohan A beatiful world within reach

December 25, 2018

In the Christmas issue of Columbia magazine, there was a touching story titled “Encountering the beauty off life.” It was about a community called L’Arche founded by a very spiritual man, Jean Vanier in 1964. L’Arche is a community “consisting of centers in which people with and without intellectual disabilities live together.” As the article pointed out, “People with an intellectual disability help us to discover what is most beautiful in each of us.” I thought, what a wonderful Christmas story that shows what Christmas is all about.

The other day I received a lovely Christmas card. It was a drawing of a precious child lying in a crib of straw peacefully asleep. Lying beside the crib were three little lambs — one was sleeping like the child, another had his head leaning over the crib, gazing in wonder at the sleeping infant. They seemed like sentinels guarding this new child. The words of Isaiah the prophet came quickly to mind: “For a child is born to us, a son is given. They name him wonder — counselor, god hero ... prince of peace.” Jesus comes once again as a little child — a sign of hope for a more peaceful world. a world without violence, terror and war.

Christmas is more than just one season of joy and hope. As Christians we are called to be persons who bring the spirit of Christmas to our world every season of the year. Let me share with you two examples of putting faith into action

She was driving home late one rainy evening — her kids were asleep in the back seat. As she was coming near her street, she saw a stalled car with a man was bending over the engine. A few feet away a woman was standing with an infant in her arms and a child clinging to her legs. She stopped the car, got out and asked if she could help in any way.

The woman seemed very much afraid. The man said his brother was coming, but it was very dark so she gave him a flashlight. She then invited the woman to sit in her car, which was heated. The woman hesitated but got in the car out of the rain with her children.

Soon the brother came and got the car running. The woman thanked her. She could have just driven on but she stopped to help. Her kindness was a beautiful example of putting faith into action.

The second example was about President and Mrs. Carter. For 35 years they have been helping to build houses for those without a decent or no house as members of the Habitat for Humanity program. Their ministry as loving and caring people is a shining example of what President Carter said: “This gives us a chance to put our religious beliefs into practical projects.”

What a beautiful world it would be if each of us could reach out to “those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war. To comfort them and change their pain into joy.”

“We are never really happy until we try to brighten the lives of others.”

— Helen Keller

The Rev. Edward Colohan lives at the Queen of Clergy residence in Stamford.

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