THE POWER OF A CHRISTMAS SMILE!

28 12 2016

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Not too long ago there was an article in the New Yorker Magazine about the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Unfortunately, one of the top facts that this landmark is known for is the number of suicides that have happened there over the years. People get so lonely that it triggers desperation and births hopelessness. This emotional attack leads to the lie that tells a person that the only way out is the way down and in California, this means diving deep to their death in the waiting waters below!

 Dr. Jerome Motto, who has been part of two failed suicide barrier for the Bridge coalitions, is now retired and living in San Mateo. In a recent interview, Dr. Motto spent three hours talking about the Bridge. Motto has had several patients commit suicide from the Golden Gate Bridge over the years but the one that affected him most occurred when after the death of his patient, Dr. Motto says, “I went to this guy’s apartment with the assistant medical examiner. The guy was in his thirties, lived alone, in a pretty bare bones apartment. He’d written a note and left it on his bureau. It said, ‘I’m going to walk to the bridge. If one person smiles at me on the way, I will not jump.” All it would have taken to save a man’s life was one individual who would have rendered another human being worth the effort to just smile at them. Nobody noticed. Nobody cared. Nobody smiled and this man died!

 Realistically, it doesn’t cost much for one person to recognize the image of God in another human being. Tragically, we don’t offer enough smiles for strangers. Incidentally, we might be willing to “Friend Them” on Facebook or “Track Them” on Twitter but we “Ignore Them” in public. Social skills must go beyond our cell phones and computers. What if we all really did treat each other with respect, dignity and throw in a little love for good measure? What if we made more eye contact which could lead to more heart connection? What if we didn’t just read, “Love One Another” in the Bible but lived it out in our daily behavior?

 I am a connoisseur of music. I am also what some might refer to as a lyrics guy. To me, words can make or break a song. One of the songs that you may like but I detest includes “McArthur’s  Park” which details the fate of that stupid cake left out in the rain. I would add the tune, “Always on My Mind” which was recorded by such musical legends as Elvis and Willie Nelson. “Always on My Mind” was written by Mark James, Johnny Christopher and Wayne Carson. I’m not sure where the writers of those lyrics learned the secret of romance, but I can assure you that these guys didn’t truly consult women. If a man actually told his sweetheart that even though he seldom expressed his feelings through words or actions, she was always on his mind, the woman probably would say, “Take a Hike!”  No wife of mine would ever accept that excuse. “You never told me, never gave me flowers, kind words, or compliments, but I was always on your mind? Yeah, right!”

 God doesn’t buy it from us either. He wants to hear our affection by making lots of noise with our actions. What good is it to sing worship songs when our hearts are preoccupied? How is the Lord supposed to respond when we tell him that we really don’t mean any of the hymns that we croon to him? It is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks, and when the mouth is silent, the heart is in question. Do you love God this Christmastime? Let him know. Tell him! Out loud! In public! Unashamed! Let there be jubilation, celebration, festivity and especially fruit from our language! As Mr. Roarke from “Fantasy Island” used to instruct his ambassadors as their guests arrived, “Smiles! Smiles!”  Who wants to hang out with a grumpy God Follower?    

 God is on the hunt this December and the days that follow for those who will imitate the angels, those who will open their hearts wide and for lives that are willing to be instruments that give God authentic glory!  

 When a Russian Submarine sunk a few years back, due to complications beyond anyone’s control, the Rescue Divers went down to attempt to do something and they actually heard pinging coming from the back of the Sub. A few of the Sailors trapped inside had made their way back there and they were pinging Morse Code at the back end and their cry was actually one sentence, “Is There Any Hope?” It is not only the question of those trapped inside a submarine. Today it is the question of the single parent who is overwhelmed by trying to be both Mom and Dad to their children! It is the pain of a marriage that has been on the rocks for an extended period of time, and having exhausted all other possibilities, they have now pronounced their union officially dead. Hopelessness may be a financial shortage in your bank account! If you’ve gotten a pink slip instead of a holiday bonus check, it begs the questions “What now?” “What’s next?”

 The question of hope is universal and it affects everyone. Sprinkled all throughout your world today are people who recognize that their Hope Chest is empty and they are looking for a compassionate gaze! So many of our neighbors and fellow citizens have holes in their souls so big that Santa could drive an 18 wheeler through it! But this is where the genuine light of Christmas shines the brightest!

 Here are the lyrics from the beloved Christmas Carol, ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem.” “How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given! So God imparts to human hearts, the blessings of his heaven. No ear may hear his coming, but in this world of sin, where meek souls will receive him still, the dear Christ enters in.” Make room in your heart for the word of God and your world will be changed! The Shepherds saw the light that first Christmas and their lips couldn’t get Jesus off the tales of their tongues! Are you gazing at the right star this season? If you are, then you will be singing a new tune! God created a plan and it is a good plan for all people and even though life can get pretty hectic at times you will always win when the smile draws you closer to him. It happened for the Angels and the Shepherds in Bethlehem. Let it happen for you here in Cape May County.

 Now it is your turn! Are you going to just ping out jingle bells in your submarine? Are you going to continue you your pursuit looking for that missing smile? Will you find what you are looking for by letting Jesus into your life? “The King of Kings salvation brings; let loving hearts enthrone Him!


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