So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. (Luke 2.16 NRSV)

There is a wonderful Christmas story of Dr. Chopade who work as a surgeon in a small village. During a manager scene pageant, he knelt before the manager and then described his wretched boyhood, in which he and his family were segregated from the rest of the village. His widowed mother cleaned latrines to support the family, and young Chopade searched the garbage heaps for food. He told how he was prohibited from attending the village school or even using the village well. Some angry voices in the audience shouted that he had only experienced what he deserved as an untouchable.

The surgeon quietly continued, telling about his eventual encounter with a kind mission doctor, who had inspired Chopade to become a doctor himself. Dr. Chopade's journey into medicine demanded years of tremendous toil and study, but with the help of missionaries, he finally graduated from college and medical school.

He told in simple language that he felt he wanted to serve the Lord and His people, and he became a Christian and a surgeon at Miraj. Gazing out on the now silent audience, Dr. Chopade stood immobile for a time. Then, putting his palms together in the traditional Indian greeting, this noted Indian surgeon from the untouchables turned again to the manger. Bowing his head, he murmured, "Thank you, thank you, Lord Jesus.

And that is our prayer. Thank you, thank you, Lord Jesus. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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