In the hustle and bustle of trying to prepare for Christmas it can become so easy to focus on what’s ahead—getting holiday travel schedules down, dealing with inclement weather, preparing for end of the year financial reports, checking on government programs and deadlines and the list goes on and on.

Ultimately as Christians we believe the generosity of our creator to do the unthinkable, to send us the Christ child who was born in unpretentious conditions in a stable with livestock near him, which should make us all pause to think and realize the greatest gift of all to humanity came with humility and an understanding of the rural tone. It is the grace none of us deserved and yet it is there for us. The good news and the tranquility of Christmas Eve and Christmas day show the power of God.  This story should not go unnoticed in a world that tries to keep us so busy. It is easy to compartmentalize the message rather than embrace it.

There is no doubt that having the Christ child born in a stable was the best place for him to be born—in the simplicity of an agrarian backdrop.

Two thousand years ago the shepherds watched and cared for flocks of livestock and they put themselves in harm’s way to protect the herd. 

As we enter a time of hopefully tranquil peace for a few days it does represent a time for us to remember the message from Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill toward men.” 

In an era in which social media tends to preach a message of turmoil, partisanship and meanness, remember it does not have to be that way for any of us. Opportunities abound for those who seek to show compassion toward others less fortunate. Most of those opportunities will never be known to anyone.

The late philanthropist Larry Stewart, the Secret Santa of Kansas City, anonymously handed out $100 bills to needy people for many years. He noted the giving of the monetary gift was not as important as the joy he could see in the eyes of the recipients.

Many people in farming and ranching industry understand that too. When a neighbor has to go to the hospital because of a serious illness, others respond by doing the chores whether on a cold winter’s day or in the blistering summer heat. In the busiest season of harvest many stories are told of men and women who go over to cut wheat or pick corn and refuse to accept any monetary pay for such generous acts.

When these Good Samaritans undertake these deeds they are revealing their true character and it speaks volumes about their compassion for others. None of those actions will ever show up on a census count or survey, but they tell an important side about who we are in rural America. That compassion continues to be in high demand.

Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or dbergmeier@hpj.com.

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