I was excited to participate in the Church’s 2016 “Light the World” Christmas campaign. I looked forward to completing the daily challenges, particularly for day five: “Jesus helped the sick, and so can you.”
That day I left work and walked through the gray city streets planning to visit my grandparents. I felt great. It was Christmastime and the world was beautiful. The peal of a charity bell rang through the air. As I neared the streetcar platform, the sound of the bell was drowned out by a homeless woman yelling at the bell ringer.
“You’re a fake!” she screamed. “I’m hungry, I’m cold, and you take it all for yourself! You’re a fake!”
Most people ignored her, and the bell ringer continued ringing his bell. I put my headphones on, but I could still hear the woman yelling, “You’re a fake! I’m hungry. I’m cold.”
I remembered I had a 20-dollar bill in my pocket. I considered giving it to the woman. “No,” I thought. “If I’m going to give this to someone, I should give it to someone nice.” Then the Spirit reminded me of the challenge and whom I was trying to be like. Jesus was the King of kings, yet He served the lowest of the low. I knew what I needed to do.
I walked toward the woman. She wasn’t yelling now, but her eyes were closed and tears ran down her cheeks. I took the 20-dollar bill from my pocket and handed it to her.
“Rough day?” I asked.
She looked up at me. “Yeah,” she said.
“I’m sorry,” I said. I wrapped my arms around her, and she cried into my shoulder until the streetcar came.
“Thanks,” the woman said when we said goodbye. “And not just for the money. Thanks for the hug. I needed a hug.”
Hugging a random person on the street was not something I had planned on doing, but I know it’s something Jesus would have done. I am grateful the Lord gave me the opportunity to serve as He would have. Jesus helped the sick, the poor, and the needy. So can I.