Lee Strobel, December 9, 2014
A family’s love for the child in the manger spurs a spiritual journey
The Chicago Tribune newsroom was eerily quiet on the day before Christmas. As I sat at my desk, my mind kept wandering back to a family I had encountered a month earlier while I was working on a series of articles about Chicago’s poorest people.
The Delgados – sixty-year-old Perfecta and her granddaughters Lydia and Jenny – had been burned out of their roach-infested tenement and were now living in a tiny two-room apartment on the West Side. As I walked in, I couldn’t believe how empty it was. There was no furniture, no rugs, nothing on the walls – only a small kitchen table and one handful of rice. They were virtually devoid of possessions.
In fact, eleven-year-old Lydia and thirteen-year-old Jenny owned only one short-sleeved dress each, plus one thin sweater between them. When they walked the half-mile to school through the biting cold, Lydia would wear the sweater for part of the distance and then hand it to her shivering sister, who would wear it the rest of the way.
But despite their poverty and the painful arthritis that kept Perfecta from working, she still talked confidently about her faith in Jesus. She was convinced he had not abandoned them. I never sensed despair or self-pity in her home; instead, there was a gentle feeling of hope and peace. Although I was an atheist at the time, she had my complete attention.
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