From Scrooge to Saint

By Dr. Ron Ross

A tired traveler and his very pregnant wife needed a place to stay after a wearisome day on the road. They came upon a two-bit motel and sought a warm room from the innkeeper.

“My wife is pregnant and we are both exhausted,” pleaded the man. “We need a room for the night.”

“No vacancy!” the man shouted from the crack in the door.

“But sir my wife is about to give birth and…”

“OK”, grumbled the man, “You can sleep in the barn out back, now leave me alone.”

That night, surrounded by the musty odors of the barn and the presence of a variety of animals that sought refuge in the same structure, the man’s wife gave birth to a lovely little baby boy. The next day the motel was a-buzz with the news that a baby was born out back. Even the innkeeper, aroused by the activity, likely wandered out to the shed to see for himself.

Now I know the original story doesn’t say so, but I believe that once the innkeeper saw the little baby boy, that suddenly a room became available for him and his mother; and other resources that the new family needed were freely offered. I think that once the innkeeper saw the baby, his apathy changed to sympathy and his hard heart turned to compassion.

Why do I think that happened? Because that’s the kind of impact this little baby has had on people around the world for well over two thousand years. When they take a good look at that little baby born behind the motel in that smelly barn, their lives are changed. They go from Scrooge to saint, from taker to giver, from tightwad to philanthropist, from miser to minister.

Need some evidence? Just take a look around. You’ll find hospitals, schools, social service agencies and volunteer groups in every land helping the sick, teaching the uninformed, housing the homeless, caring for the dying, and joyfully doing the work that many people think should be done by some cold, soulless government agency.

Show me a hospital erected by an atheist, or find me a social service agency funded by agnostics. There are few if any volunteer organizations that serve the hurting word established by humanists, new-agers, Marxists, or secular progressives.

When disaster comes to any location on earth who arrives to help first – the National Association of Wiccans? What about the ACLU, do they show up? Only if some kindly volunteer is caught praying with a hurting soul, then they’ll jump into action and try to shut down the whole operation.

You can depend on it, when disaster comes to almost any place on earth the first help on scene usually comes from the Salvation Army. This impressive, worldwide organization was started in 1875 in England by a Christian minister to the slums of London where thieves, prostitutes, gamblers and drunkards were among his first converts.

It’s a matter of fact: there is no other religion in all the world that is as generous, loving, caring and other-oriented as the one that started in the back yard of that two-bit motel a couple of millennium ago.

I can’t explain it but for some reason when people consider the meaning of that special birth and the message of love and forgiveness that came from his lips later in life, they change. They go from being wasted, wandering malcontents to useful, generous citizens. They no longer focus just on what they can get, but ask, “What can I give, how can I help?”

© Copyright 2012 Dr. Ronald D. Ross

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