There is little doubt that bad news sells so well that bad is almost all we hear about. We hear about wars, humans treating humans inhumanely, weather and natural calamities, dishonesty in government, dishonesty in our homes, the opioid epidemic and on and on.
Christmas is a time for wishes, hope and bright expectations. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to pick up the newspaper or turn on the six o’clock news and discover that all the media outlets were enamored with the story of a small family with meager means anonymously making certain that the children of a single mom down the street had presents under the tree on Christmas morning, and food to eat throughout the year?
Imagine a day when CNN and Fox News were falling over one another to cover a story about a local church making good on its commitment to feed the hungry of the community and offering shelter to the homeless. Then a flash bulletin banner appears on the screen as reporters scramble in front of yet another church that is found to be offering hope of freedom from addiction to scores of hopeless drug users here at home.
The only thing outlandish about these examples is the idea that the media would find these stories alluring enough to offer that amount of coverage. Because, as many already know, these acts of love and kindness go on everyday right here in our community, and it seldom sees the light of day. Not because those who perform these acts are trying to hide it, but because that kind of news doesn’t sell, so it doesn’t get the coverage.
I heard a discussion recently between two well-meaning men about another young man who often would spend all but gas money to go to work to help a young family who had lost their income because of downsizing. Rather than just praising the young man for his act of kindness and using his generosity as an example, the point of the discussion was that he “never shadowed a church door.” Might that fact further illuminate the power of God’s love spilling over to the unchurched be a better point?
My pastor, Mike Brown, says that organized church has a habit of “killing its wounded” rather than reaching down a hand to help and restore. I agree, but I don’t think it’s intentional. I believe that we have allowed the things of the world to wire us negatively – the old “glass half empty” attitude. Again, negativity and bad news sells.
For as much as is wrong with this world, there is a lot right. For every act of inhumanity to man, there is a woman working all day or all night on the job and then taking food to an elderly person who, without her kindness, might be hungry and lonely. We hear about atrocities against children, yet somewhere, someone has opened their loving home to someone else’s child.
Here’s to the foster parents, adoptive parents, those who offer companionship and comfort to the lonely, those who provide food to the hungry, shelter to the homeless, those unknown scores of people who without any desire for notoriety, praise or reward, symbolically wrap their arms around their fellow human beings and show God’s love. It is these people — their hearts of love, compassion and selflessness — that in my mind comprise the brilliance of that great star that shone so brightly over a stable in the middle eastern town of Bethlehem so long ago directing the way to the new-born savior. That light still shines today and sets the example you and I should follow.
Yeah, the bad will always be there, but if we shine enough light on the good, the darkness of the bad news must flee.
Herb Day is a longtime local radio personality and singer-musician. He can be heard Tuesday mornings from 8 a.m. to noon on 88.7 WOBO-FM and can be reached at HEKAMedia@yahoo.com.