Lee Strobel: A Christmas Story
What we say and do really matters during this special season – as I found out when I was a skeptical newspaper reporter
The Chicago Tribune newsroom was eerily quiet on the day before Christmas in 1974. As I sat at my desk with little to do, 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 neediest people.
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. That’s it. 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, gray 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.
I wrote an article about the family, and then I quickly moved on to more exciting assignments. But as I sat at my desk on Christmas Eve, I continued to wrestle with the irony of the situation: here was a family that had nothing but faith and yet seemed happy, while I had everything I needed materially but lacked faith – and inside I felt as barren as their apartment.
I walked over to the city desk to sign out a car. It was a slow news day, with nothing of consequence going on. My boss could call me if something were to happen. In the meantime, I decided to drive over to West Homer Street and see how the Perfecta and the girls were doing…
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RECOMMENDED RESOURCE: The Case for Christ Study Bible with Lee Strobel (editor)
Have you ever heard Scripture’s truths but wondered where to find those truths in the Scriptures? Or have you ever wondered where to find evidence for belief in God in the Bible? You’re not alone. Millions of people have asked these same questions, including Lee Strobel — an atheist who engaged in a thorough search for the truth to decide for himself if Jesus was who he claimed to be. Drawn from Lee’s own experiences as a former atheist and featuring his journalistic style from his days as an investigative reporter with the Chicago Tribune, the notes and articles throughout The Case for Christ Study Bible are designed to motivate you to investigate the Bible’s claims for yourself. Whether you are a Christian seeking encouragement in your faith and knowledge about who God is or a seeker or skeptic searching for answers, you will benefit from Lee’s own extensive search for the truth.
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