Love in unexpected places

Love in unexpected places

Tim Costello’s Christmas message

A few weeks ago I was in the teeming, crowded Indonesian city of Surabaya. I met an 11-year-old boy called Dodik, who had lost the use of his arms and legs in a bicycle accident some years ago.

With help from World Vision, he received the treatment he needed and in July he achieved what had been thought impossible and found himself walking to school.

I’d heard Dodik’s story before I met him, yet I found myself overwhelmed by this extraordinary transformation.

What made this transformation happen? A stranger’s act of love and compassion.

The stranger in this case was a man from Western Australia who made the decision to sponsor a child — a decision that turned out to have profound and wonderful consequences.

Sometimes we only see a small part of the story. When we see Christmas, we might only see the tinsel and celebrations. We find ourselves swept away by the crowd and noise of the season. For some the frenzy of activity creates feelings of isolation and loneliness.

But we are just part of God’s plan for the world. God chooses his instruments, and sometimes it takes us a while to catch on to what he intends for us.

If we open our eyes, we might find love in unexpected places. We might find signs of grace in the margins and shadows.

What our eyes might miss is the small acts of love and hospitality that transform worlds. When Joseph and Mary, having exhausted all their options, arrived at the inn, they might have expected yet another rejection. But a busy landlord’s small act of hospitality changed everything. He literally opened the door to allow God’s love to be born amongst us.

So this Christmas, what choice will we make? Will we open our eyes to see God’s new possibilities? Will we look for the strangers, those in the shadows and margins, those in need? How will we help these people to find some of God’s love in an unexpected place?

Tim Costello is Chief executive, World Vision Australia

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