Another child is born
Editor’s note: This is a revised version of a column written by editor Rick Elkins in the 1990s. It was revived and run in 2010.
“Another child was born today,” began the newspaper columnist’s Christmas Day piece in the fictional television series Christmas show that to this day I can still vividly recall.
It is not an old Christmas classic like “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Scrooge,” “Miracle on 34th Street” or “White Christmas.” It was from a December episode of “Highway to Heaven” that back in the 1990s starred the late Michael Landon. He played an angel named Jonathan who was sent to earth to do good deeds.
This single episode of the series hammered home the true meaning of Christmas more than anything else ever has for me. Thirty years have passed since it first ran and probably 10 more since the last time I have seen that particular episode and it still sticks in my memory.
I am not even sure “Highway to Heaven” reruns are shown much these days. Ironically, it was a rerun that I first saw the show that is etched in my memory for ever. Probably, because it was about a newspaper columnist has something to do with my remembering it, but I also think it is the story that I remember.
The episode was about a modern-day couple, Joseph and Mary, with no money, no home, no family, no insurance, looking for a place to stay. Mary was pregnant and the baby was due at any moment. The setting was a large city, busy with traffic and people too much in a hurry to really care or notice their fellow man.
As you guess, Mary and Joseph were turned away everywhere. It was Christmas Eve and they had no where to go and most hospitals would not take them because they had no insurance or ability to pay.
The show was about the couple, the angel and a disbelieving newspaper columnist.
Obviously, the show was a play on the most famous story ever told — the birth of Jesus Christ and the journey of Mary and Joseph seeking shelter on the eve of Christ’s birth. Some 2,000 years ago, and in the TV show, there was no place for Mary or Joseph.
In the end, Jonathan, a cab driver and the well-known columnist find the young couple and with their help, and the help of a local politician whose wife was also expecting, get them admitted to a local hospital where their baby is born.
Upon returning to his newspaper office late on Christmas Eve, the columnist begins his Christmas Day column, “Another child was born today, as one was born some 2,000 years ago.”
The show has always made me wonder what would happen today if Mary and Joseph looked for a place on Christmas Eve here in Porterville. Would they be turned away? I doubt it. Today, there are far too many safety nets for people seeking help like Mary and Joseph.
However, it would not be easy, especially on Christmas Eve.
While there are no stories of a modern-day Mary and Joseph given shelter, there have been scores of stories in this newspaper this holiday season about the good deeds of people helping others. Literally, thousands of children received something for Christmas thanks to the generosity of others. More than a thousand families received food. It is not just residents of Porterville who are kind and generous, but those stories are found everywhere.
The TV show columnist wrote: “Another child was born today...” He could have added, “And another will be born tomorrow and another the next day and so on, each needing love and a little kindness from the world.
Thank God there are good people in this world. Merry Christmas and may all of you too realize the real meaning of the season and may all the children of the world experience a little kindness.
Rick Elkins is editor of the Porterville Recorder. He can be reached at 784-5000, ext. 1040, or by e-mail at email@example.com. You can also follow him on Twitter.