ILLUSTRATION BY NICOLE WONG
A YEAR AGO I found myself at the
airport in Atlanta, trying to get
a flight back to Bloomington, Illinois.
Ice and rain had caused havoc
in the city. When I got to the
airport, the monitor showed that
many flights had been delayed,
others had been canceled.
Luckily, my flight to Bloomington was listed
as being on time.
As I sat in the waiting area by the gate, my
flight, which had been on schedule, was now
being posted as 15 minutes delayed. Fifteen minutes
turned into another 15 minutes, then a gate
change, then another 15-minute delay—and yet
another gate change.
Many people at the airport that day, including
me, were not happy campers. We all had places to
be, schedules to keep, and the weather messed
up all our plans.
The tension was evident as folks grumbled at the
airline personnel at the gate. People were complaining
out loud to whoever would listen. You could
see the unhappiness written in the furrows on
foreheads and the lack of smiles on faces.
Lightened Moods, Enlivened Hearts
In the midst of all this, a young couple entered
with a baby stroller and a young boy riding on top
of a suitcase his father was toting. If you have
ever traveled with children, you know it can certainly
be a challenge, even under the best of circumstances,
let alone when there are flight delays,
gate changes and cancellations.
But these two children were an absolute delight.
It was amazing to see the reaction of those gathered
in the gate area when the children and their
parents arrived. The little baby was a bundle of
joy—oohing and aahing, giggling and clapping his
hands. His innocent joy brought smiles to many
a frowning face, including mine.
The other child, a little boy about two or three
years of age, oblivious to the fact that their flight
was delayed, began to sing. It’s a song I believe
most of us know and perhaps sang when we were
And ever since that day at the airport, it has
become one of my favorite Christian hymns. It
goes like this: “Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves
me! Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so!”
You would not believe the difference this little
boy made in the lives of those gathered at the gate
on that day. People’s moods suddenly began to
change. The anger, the impatience and frustration
at the many delays seemed instantaneously
to melt away.
People, who moments earlier were grumbling,
arguing with the airline personnel, frustrated by
their situation, were now being calmed by the
singing of a little boy about how Jesus loves him.
Is that not the message we long to hear this Christmas?
Do we not need to hear anew how much we
These two little children were oblivious to the
delays. They had no schedules to keep. But they
knew they were loved. Mom and Dad were there
beside them and nothing else really mattered.
The baby could coo and giggle and the little boy
could sing because they knew they were loved.
Sometimes in the busyness of life, in the frustration,
the disappointments, the deadlines, the rat
race we often find ourselves in, we tend to forget what this little boy reminded us older
and more mature folks gathered in the
gate area that day: We are loved.
God so loved the world—you and
me—that Jesus, God’s only begotten
son, was sent to redeem us. Jesus was
born, lived, suffered, died and rose from
the dead to remind each and every one
of us that we are loved.
Have you reason to doubt the Lord’s
love for you? Perhaps you have not
been a very good Catholic. You have
failed to practice your faith, to give
witness to it, to defend it. Remember
the message of Christmas: Yes, Jesus
Have you committed a grave sin?
Perhaps you have been unfaithful to
your spouse, failing to invest yourself
totally in the relationship. Or maybe
you destroyed another person’s good
name or reputation, out of revenge,
jealousy or anger. Remember the message
of Christmas: Yes, Jesus loves you!
Do you live your life with hardly a
thought of God each day, trying to
fight all the battles in your life without
grace? Or do you think of God only
when you need something? Remember
the message of Christmas: Yes, Jesus
Have you betrayed a friend, stolen
from your employer or failed to be a
good friend to another? Remember the
message of Christmas: Yes, Jesus loves
Jesus loves you, no matter what
you’ve done, how far you may have
fallen, no matter how many sins you
have committed or how serious they
were. He loves you. But he loves you too
much to let you stay there.
Christ came to show us the way back
to the Father, who is the way, the truth
and the life. He came to free us from the
grip of sin and our enslavement to it.
He knows we are not perfect and that,
despite our best efforts, we often come
Jesus loves us just the same. But if we
allow his love to enter our hearts, then
we will find the grace and the strength
to overcome any sin we find ourselves
wrestling with or that we know has a
hold on us.
Zacchaeus, the tax collector who
cheated and extorted money from others,
experienced this. The thief who
hung on the cross next to Jesus in his
last hours experienced it, too. He found
that the Lord had stolen his heart for
In a crowded airport, a little boy made
a difference in the lives of those who
were frustrated by flight delays and
cancellations. He reminded us, in his
simplicity and innocence, that Jesus
During the Christmas season we
come to celebrate the birth of a little
boy who is love itself, Jesus the Christ.
He continues to remind us that we are
Just like in the song: “Yes, Jesus loves
me! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves
me! The Bible tells me so!”