Duarte column: Time of miracles, restoration and love
The accident took place last month on Interstate 30 in Texarkana, Arkansas. A truck sideswiped a car and it flipped over.
Five family members were traveling in the car; four adults were injured and an 8-month old baby girl was ejected during the crash and could not be found.
Texarkana Fire Department staff reported they heard a noise near a patch of hay 25 feet away in the center divider and found the child unhurt inside a drain storm.
“The baby … was sitting up and looking up at us waiting for us to pull her out,” Texarkana firefighter Josh Moore said. “There had to be some kind of divine intervention for her to end up being OK.”
These are the kind of stories that feed the soul and remind us that miracles are real and surprise us with a special charm, which we cannot understand.
The hay that covered the girl reminded me of the manger that sheltered Jesus when he was born, being His birth the true reason for the Christmas celebration.
Several surveys indicate that in America, nine out of 10 people celebrate Christmas as a very special holiday surrounded by gifts, food, chocolates, family, and joy.
Christmas is also the best time of year to put into action forgiveness, strengthen friendship, compassion, generosity, solidarity, peace, and hope.
The main reason to celebrate this holiday is Jesus, whose life, death and resurrection is impregnated with wonders and miracles.
Last week I attended a big Christmas celebration. Pastor Michael Ingersoll, from Glenwood First United Methodist Church, shared a powerful message of faith and hope to a large number of volunteers that support school-age children from the Roaring Fork Valley.
“Jesus’ life was not only impacted by his parents, Maria and Jose, but by the love of his relatives and ordinary people like you and me,” Ingersoll said. “You are permeating with love and faith the lives of hundreds of children, just as the community members did with Jesus.”
His message made me reflect on the Bible verse of Matthew 17:20:
“Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
When I was a child I felt very sad to see an old man who lived alone and had no family. I asked my grandmother Malvina what that man would do for Christmas and she said: “No one is alone if he holds in his heart the hope that Jesus lives in him.”
I never understood it at all, until one day I felt alone and I could assimilate her words, “I’m not alone if Jesus lives in me.”
I learned that Jesus came to serve, not to be served; He brought the hope that gives the forgiveness and the shelter of love, always walking beside those no one wanted to join.
He built his life in love, hope and justice, illuminating for more than 2,000 years the hearts of innumerable amount of people who believe and testify of their miracles.
Whether or not you celebrate, Christmas is my desire for hope to keep us alert, for our attitudes to open the floodgates of our hearts, and for love to strengthen our hearts to forgive and ask for forgiveness.
I respect the community we are building with effort. During the holidays we can spread the hope for a better world and celebrate the power of love, respect and family.
Celebrate this time of the year with the conviction that you are loved and you are not alone.
It is the best time to restore our faith, to love, to forgive and to ask for forgiveness.
Merry Christmas and a blessed 2017.
Eloisa Duarte has been a volunteer in many community projects. She has a degree in communications and a passion for education. firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column normally appears on the third Thursday of each month on the community pages.
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Crews worked for more than an hour extinguishing the blaze. No one was injured in the fire.