Sunday, November 30, 2014

"He's nothing but a bum."

Today's Crumb comes from a reader in Raleigh, NC. It first appeared on Christmas Day, 1969, in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. See if you can can guess who wrote it.

"One Christmas Eve when I was very young, I was Christmas shopping with my father. He had me loaded down the packages and I was tired. I was thinking how good it would be go get home when a beggar, bleary-eyed and unshaven, came up to me and touched my hand and asked for money. His hand was so dirty that I recoiled and brushed him aside.

"My father said, 'It's Christmas Eve, Norman. You should not treat a man that way.' 'But Dad, he's nothing but a bum!' I said. 'There's no such thing as a bum. He's a child of God, my boy.' My father took out his wallet and handed me a dollar. 'Take this, go up to him, speak with respect and tell him you're giving him this dollar in the name of Christ.'  'Oh, I don't want to say that.' But my father insisted, 'Go and do as I tell you.' So I ran and caught up with the man and said, 'Excuse me, sir, I give you this dollar in the name of Christ.' He looked absolutely surprised. Then a wonderful smile spread over his face. His nobility came out. 'I thank you, sir, in the name of Christ,' he said. All my irritation faded away. The dingy street suddenly seemed beautiful. I glimpsed the transformation that comes over people when you think of them as children of God. It is this that really makes Christmas merry."

Norman grew up to be Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, author of "The Power of Positive Thinking."

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