A 30-pound ham and a quiet message

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 24, 2003

This is not the Alabama Supreme Court Building and we have no intention of setting up any monument with the Ten Commandments inscribed upon it. We do, however, intend to offer a few reflections on the nature and meaning of Christmas. If that offends you, you might want to turn to another page. Consider yourself forewarned.

Someone broke into the Bosco Nutrition Center Monday night. They stole a 30-pound ham. They also did $2,000 worth of damage to the center’s walk-in freezer.

For those of you who might not know, the Bosco Center is one of several outreach ministries of the Edmundite Missions. The workers at the center occupy themselves with doing good and with being of service to others. Among the many programs offered by the center is an annual Christmas dinner.

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The workers at the center were, not unexpectedly, saddened when they discovered the break-in. &uot;All we are trying to do is provide a good hot meal and kindness to anyone who walks in our door, every day of the year,&uot; said Mary Gayle, the center’s director. &uot;We ask nothing in return, and to have this happen … it is very discouraging.&uot;

While Gayle’s words are poignant, we would suggest that what she did not say is even more poignant. She did not condemn the transgressors. She did not threaten to file a lawsuit. She pointed no finger of blame.

She simply vowed that the center would continue with its plans for Christmas dinner. &uot;I could cry about it,&uot; Gayle admitted, &uot;but I won’t start. I have a meal to cook and I love my job and the people I serve.&uot;

As you make your final preparations for Christmas, you might want to ponder those words. Perhaps there is someone in your life whom you are tempted to condemn.

Perhaps you feel you have good reason.

Perhaps God is calling us to consider that there is another way.

Merry Christmas.