Jesus Comes for All

Fred Craddock tells about a missionary named Oswald Golter. Back in the 1940s, his mission board sent him the money to come home from North China after ten years of service there. When he docked at a port in India to await passage home, he found a boatload of refugees housed in a warehouse on the pier. The refugees weren’t wanted in many ports, so they were stranded there. It was Christmas time, so the missionary went to the warehouse to visit these refugees.

He said to them, “Merry Christmas! What do you want for Christmas?”

“We’re not Christians,” they said. “We don’t believe in Christmas.”

“I know,” said the missionary, “but what do you want for Christmas?” They finally mentioned some wonderful German pastries they were fond of, and Oswald Golter scoured the city until he found a bakery that made those pastries. He cashed in his ticket home, bought baskets and baskets of the pastries, took them to the refugees, and wished them a merry Christmas.

When he later told the story, a student said, “But sir, why did you do that for them? They weren’t Christians. They don’t even believe in Jesus.”

“I know,” he replied, “but I do!”

Epiphany, January 6, celebrates the coming of the Magi to Jesus. This event reveals that Christ comes not for a select group of people but for all people. Therefore, since Christ comes for all, we are continually challenged to think of ways in which we might share Christ with all people everywhere—not because they are Christians—but because we are.