Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas on Salvation Street

I was supposed to perform at a retirement center tonight as a part of our church's Christmas Eve service. I've been looking forward to it since I heard the idea of it, but I've felt a cold coming on, so this morning I asked to be excused. My grandpa died of complications of pneumonia, and it seemed in my mind I could hasten someone's end by taking my contagious self to project germs to the frail. It was a difficult decision, and it's made it my hardest Christmas Eve in memory. A friend sent an essay on the power of simple acts of kindness that can birth something profound, and the essay birthed something profound in me. I began to weep. I realized that even if none of the residents ever know my choice was made out of love, the very act of choosing to love births something profound. 

So I looked for a film about the true meaning of Christmas to watch in lieu of the Christmas Eve service. I found it in Christmas on Salvation Street. It reminded me of The Cross and the Switchblade, which our mom read to us as kids. I'm sure she had no idea it would be one of the things that would inspire me to move to NYC, but tonight this similar story inspired me all over again. 

In The Cross and the Switchblade, David Wilkerson is a pastor in Pennsylvania drawn to minister in NYC's inner city. This film I saw tonight the pastor is in Southern California, and he's drawn to a rough section of LA. Maybe it's close to where I was staying when someone broke into my hotel room while I was sleeping. The transformational stories in Christmas on Salvation Street may seem far fetched, but they're inspired by true events. I watched similar stories play out when I was an intern at The Lamb's Church of the Nazarene on Times Square for four years, where we saw people set free of addictions and instincts they’d learned on the streets.

Granted, I was ready for a good cry, but this one certainly met me at my place of need. Maybe by the simple act of sharing about a film I wouldn't have seen will birth something in you



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