On the Sixth Day of Christmas my true friend gave to me...
Ten Minutes of Christmas Cheer…
A CHRISTMAS THOUGHT FOR THE DAY… "Joy"
Somehow, not only for Christmas,
but all the long year through,
The joy that you give to others,
Is the joy that comes back to you.
-John Greenleaf Whittier
I LOVE TO TELL THE STORY…”The Train Stop at North Platte”
On December 17, 1941, citizens in North Platte, Nebraska, heard a rumor of a troop train carrying their sons and daughters to war would be stopping at the local depot for ten minutes. They made plans to meet it and load the soldiers up with food, gifts, and magazines for the long, lonely train ride to an uncertain future. They knew some of those soldiers would never see home again.
Well, the train arrived all right, but not with Nebraska soldiers. They were Kansans! There was a brief moment as townspeople stood around quietly with food baskets in hand; soldiers peered out the windows wondering what was happening. One person started forward, and, suddenly, these Nebraska farmers were greeting Kansas soldiers like they were their own.
Eight days later, on Christmas day, North Platte citizens started meeting every troop train-every troop train-from 5:00 a.m. until well after midnight, feeding lonely soldiers heading to places like Iwo Jima, Bastogne, Normandy, and Wake Island. In a time when everything was rationed, people from all over Nebraska and even parts of Colorado traded in their ration stamps for eggs and sugar and other staples so they could feed these traveling troops for ten minutes each. They did it without ever missing a train from December 25, 1941, to the last train served on April 1, 1946, serving six million-read that again, six million-soldiers in the process. Their hospitality carried the name of the North Platte Canteen to every corner of the world, making it probably the most talked-about town in the history of the American soldier.
Even the most battle-tested, life-hardened, crusty old troopers weep when they talk about what those ten minutes meant to them-what those moments still mean to them.
What do people remember when they walk away from ten-min¬ute encounters with us? How do we prepare our hearts to touch the lives of people who pass by us so fast that the residue of our meeting only hits them when they're gone? What work will we do before they arrive that make those ten minutes useful or, in rare instances, even memorable?
This is an era for ten-minute Christians, where opportunities to serve slip past us so quickly we can come to see them as meaningless. Eye contact, warm words, kind words, and going the extra mile aren't just good business; they're good witnesses, too. The weary, discouraged, and overwhelmed-believer and nonbeliever-need a ten-minute stopover in an oasis of faith. Even the strong among us find strength for the journey when we encounter Jesus reflected in surprising places and surprising faces.
Citizens in North Platte knew something we need to learn: Ten minutes can change a life. Six million soldiers headed away from North Platte with a nugget of home and hope tucked safely in their hearts. May the people who meet us this day get a glimpse of the hope we have tucked in our hearts.
Compliments of Randy Kilgore
YOUR MIRTHFUL MOMENT OF THE DAY...
A couple took their three-year-old to church for the first time at Christmas. Getting impatient while waiting for the Mass to start, he turned to his mother and asked, "What time does Jesus get here?"
YOUR YOUTUBE CHRISTMAS MOMENT
Enjoy Matt Redman and Natasha Bedingfield as they join together with their beautiful Christmas version of “Help From Heaven.” These lyrics are powerful and the harmonies are out of this world reminding us of that first Christmas when help did come from heaven.
You can find the archived messages from this year's series on my website at http://terrypaulson.com/christmas.shtml/. More tomorrow...as we prepare for His coming!
Your Host for this Year's Journey....