In the United States and the nations of Europe preparations are underway to celebrate Christmas as first and foremost a tribute to materialism. These increasingly agnostic and secular societies are not only willfully choosing to ignore the existence of God but they are rejecting the moral and behavioral guidelines established by Judeo-Christian teachings. They are, as a substitute, placing more and more trust in mankind. The ultimate consequence for a society that chooses this misguided reliance and the reality of God’s outstretched helping hand is embodied in the story of a young boy from the streets of a nameless city in an unknown country.
World War II has ended and somewhere in central Europe, a small, frail, solitary figure, his clothes in tatters, gingerly walks around the piles of rubble and broken glass on the streets of a once-bustling city now lying in ruins. The few still-upright walls, their windows and doors blown out, appear as skeletons framed against the blue sky. No one knows this boy’s age, his name or to whom he was born. After the death of a woman he had lived with--perhaps a relation, but perhaps not--he was on his own.
Along with other abandoned children, his daytime hours were spent in the never-ending pursuit of surviving for another day. The search for food was their constant companion. Oftentimes they begged from the locals or foreign soldiers stationed nearby, or, as a last resort, they rummaged through the garbage cans outside of military mess halls.
At night, the least destroyed of the nearby buildings with a remnant of a roof overhead served as a shelter from the elements. But no one could escape from the constant stench of death and destruction in the air.
As the sun rose on a day which promised to be like so many before it, the boy was making his usual morning rounds when he heard a woman’s desperate screams. Running to the scene, he saw a teenaged girl pinned against a wall as a soldier was tearing at her clothing. Instinctively, he picked up some ever-present broken bricks and began throwing them at the assailant. After a few bricks found their mark, the man released the girl, allowing her to escape. He then turned, pistol in hand, to confront his tormentor. Scrambling to run away, the boy heard a loud noise and felt the bullet entering his back as if hit by someone swinging a baseball bat followed immediately by an excruciating burning sensation as he fell to the ground. After falling forward from the impact of the bullet, he got up and ran some distance before passing out.
When the boy awoke, he was in a military hospital, being treated for a gunshot wound and malnutrition. For the first time he could remember, he slept in a bed and was fed three meals a day. After recuperating, he was placed on a train and taken on a long journey to an orphanage near Bremen, Germany………….