Don’t read this Christmas miracle story. You won’t like it, and you won’t like me for writing it. Save yourself the stress, skip this story, and come back next week for something to give you the sense of warmth and Christmas joy we all love; unless, of course, you don’t mind the fact that sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.
Semi-surrounded as it was by three oceans, the dear little country seemed to be encircled with the shelter of angel’s wings. It’s founders had, in fact, asked for wisdom from heaven, itself, in its structure, and for many years it seemed to be blessed because of it. Sure, it had its ups and downs. Every country swings between the forces of good and evil with the pendulum of history. It praised its heroes. It mourned its defeats. It witnessed its share of error as well as of greatness in the comings and goings of all that happens through the course of time’s river.
But of late the country had been badly beaten and bruised. Its recent rulers had done what damage they could by pitting its citizens against each other (skin, sex, culture, religion, language, you name it), by reducing its protections – both of individuals and as a whole, by abusing its sense of morality and common sense, by denigrating the church and even the country, itself, and by putting a stranglehold on those who attempted to use their nerve and smarts to make a go of it. The rulers held out the apple of benevolence injected with the poison of increased governmental control, and the people ate it.
How did it happen? It wasn’t as though its citizens were desiring their own country’s demise. They were, for the most part, very good people: People who loved what was right, or thought they did; who cared about their fellow-man; who honestly wanted good to prevail. But schools of thought differed about how to best help people and preserve a nation. Passions inflamed. Those who would use those passions to create destruction rather than discourse were loud and persistent. The gem of youth was accessed. Slowly and surely young children grew to believe things they were taught about history, economy, and morality regardless of the lessons’ veracity. They were young. They didn’t know differently, their teachers were both sincere and skillful, and their parents were oblivious of the intensity of indoctrination. The very definition of words was changed to influence thinking about right and wrong, good and evil. It became difficult to tell what was true and what was false, and voices from many sources created a cacophony of confusion.
For belief, as we all know, is a stubborn thing. It is strong and rarely yields. Why should it? The question, of course, is which belief is right? Which belief is true?
And now the country’s demise was nearly complete. In only a short time, its transformation from freedom to communism would take place. The powers and their followers were nearly ecstatic with the thought. And the people? Half of them were alarmed at the thought and half of them were at peace with it.
In just one election, it would be entirely possible to wrest what control a free citizenry maintained and implement their own philosophy: Marxism leading to socialism leading to communism. It was, according to everyone who knew anything, a sure thing.
But prayer can’t be outlawed, even when thought seemingly is controlled and speech surely is – if not by law, then by name-calling. Small utterances in quiet homes and loud pleas in large gatherings were offered to the God who had watched, as He watches all countries, with care and concern, and suddenly the little country found reason to hope.
That hope came, as hope often does, in an unexpected way. A blustery man of no political background challenged the plans so carefully laid. His language wasn’t skilled nor did it hold the smooth enticement of a politician, but he was brave and he was tenacious, whatever else people thought of him. Some said he thought one thing, some said he thought another. And said. And did. And his character was this. Or that. His election caused some to fear. They worried about the opinions others claimed he held and were concerned for the future. Some people rejoiced at the thought of the country being snatched from the precipice of Marxist policy and of the possibility of it returning to its origins; not the origins taught by the sincere and skillful teachers, but its true Constitutional origins that people needed to learn about; some, for the first time. And some people felt uncertain about who they should believe, sighing while they continued in their daily tasks.
And the country watched and waited to see what the blustery man of no political background would do. And as they waited, God watched them.