We love stories about heroes, larger than life men or women who do great things against great odds.
Heroes are featured on the evening news often for days or weeks.
Their stories inspire us and often become defining moments in our lives.
The fireman rescuing the elderly lady is Shawne Wiebe from Nanton, Alberta.
You’ve probably never heard of Shawne or Nanton & the lady remains nameless. Yet this image went viral.
Shawne became the ‘poster boy’ for thousands of everyday heroes in our community.
In June 2013 our area was devastated by floods of epic proportions. It was the worst natural disaster in Canadian history.
Unnamed men, women & children from near & far away came to aid in the cycle of rescue, recovery, repair, rebuilding & restoration.
They gave of their time, strength & resources to shovel mud, clean up basements & get rid of mountains of trash.
They provided food, water & shelter.
They opened up their homes & hearts to total strangers. Relationships formed during those dark days continue to thrive.
The lady in the picture made a comment that it had been a long time since she had been swept off her feet by a handsome young man.
Good job Shawne!
As I reflect on the stories from those devastating days I remember that many said the simple gifts of presence & comfort were what got them through.
The simple act of just stopping & listening made a huge difference.
In the midst of mess & loss there was humour & laughter.
There was joy as we dug through mud & rubble. We even shared a beer or two.
Being an Everyday Hero
Who We Are
Who We Are Becoming.
Good Tidings of Comfort & Joy
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen was first published in 1833 when it appeared in “Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern,” a collection of seasonal carols gathered by William B. Sandys. The lyrics of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen are traditional olde English and are reputed to date back to the 15th century although the author is unknown.
It is believed that this particular carol was sung to the gentry by town watchmen who earned additional money during the Christmas season. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen continues to be enjoyed. The lyrics to this simple song are reputed to be one of the oldest carols.
Bringing Good News
Hebrews 11 is the ‘Faith Chapter‘ that reminds us of the stories of those who walked in faith & saw God act. For thirty-five verses (I like to count things) we read about famous & unknown people who were called heroes of faith.
Then we come Hebrews 11:36. It says :
Still others were tortured, beaten, chained, mocked, imprisoned or died by stoning.
Some were sawed in half.
Some went around wearing animal skins , were destitute, oppressed & mistreated.
Some wandered in deserts and in caves and holes in the ground.
These also were commended for their faith yet none of them received what they had been promised.
They were those of whom the world was not worthy
They walked in faith & trust in perilous times.
They were everyday heroes.
Getting Christmas ‘Right’
Christmas 2014 sees the very things talked about in Hebrews 11:36 happening to fellow believers around the world . Here in North America many are being forbidden to say Merry Christmas publicly. Economic crisis looms on the horizon & threats of plagues like Ebola threaten our peace.
How to we live Christmas this year ?
Where do we find comfort, joy and peace?
What does living by faith look like in troubling times?
What does it take to be a hero?
I believe we can find the answer by taking a careful look at the life of Joseph.
Joseph : A Still Other
Joseph Was a Good Man
He was engaged (betrothed) to a young girl called Mary. In those days betrothal was as legally binding as marriage. The only way to break a betrothal was divorce.
Mary was pregnant. She was telling a wild story of the baby being conceived by the Holy Spirit. Jewish law stated that she should have been stoned to death.
Joseph being a good man didn’t report her & didn’t want to disgrace her publicly. He decided to break the engagement quietly, to divorce her.
Joseph Heard God
Mary & Zechariah both had visits & conversations with angels.
The Wise Men followed a new Star.
The Shepherds saw myriads of angels & the radiance of the Glory of God.
Joseph Just Had Dreams
In the first dream he was told to not be afraid to take Mary as his wife. The child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit.
The angel in the dream repeated the information that a real angel had communicated to Mary.
In my opinion an angelic visitation outweighs a dream about an angel hundred times over.
Was the dream just a reflection of what Joseph wanted to believe? In his hurt & devastation had his subconscious just made it up?
Scriptures tell us that there were at least two other dreams giving Joseph specific instructions. In each case Joseph obeyed.
The wise men who brought amazing gifts had just left to return to their own countries. Tradition and astronomy indicates that these events were up to two years after the birth of Jesus. Mary & Joseph had probably settled down in Bethlehem. Maybe Joseph had opened another carpenter shop. They were far away from the wagging tongues and rumors about an illegitimate child.
Joseph had another dream. “Pack up, leave your country; your culture and go to Egypt” said the angel in the dream.
What was his response? Instant obedience!
I would love to have heard the conversation between Joseph & Mary as they packed up, leaving their home, friends & community once again. Their destination, Egypt was definitely not on the Jewish favorite places list. And yet off they went.
This time there was no emotion driving the response to the dream. In fact it was probably more difficult to respond this time because there wasn’t an immediate crisis.
Joseph is a hero.
- He had faith.
- He obeyed.
- He led his family.
- He took responsibility
- He died before Jesus triumphed over the Enemy on the Cross
- He never saw the fulfillment of the Promise.
Heroes are heroes
- They act instinctively
- They act quickly
- They have hearts that trust
- They don’t debate the issues.
- They hear God
- Like Abraham they believe God
- It is credited to them as righteousness
Joseph was a hero.
Because he believed that an Angel spoke to him all of history, all of Eternity was changed forever.
The purposes of the Father established before the foundation of the earth are kept in motion by Everyday Heroes.
A Fresh Look At Christmas
Look again at the picture above.
The setting is a flooded river. A little old lady was rescued from certain death by the arms of a young fireman.
We don’t remember the danger, the fear, the loss .
We remember the joy of being swept off our feet by a smiling young man.
A Ordinary Firefighter
Became An Everyday Hero.
By Simply Being There
At Just The Right Time
Comfort & Joy Came To
An Unnamed Lady
- Who are your Everyday Heroes ?
- Take time to connect with them this season.
- Let them know they made a difference in your life.
- Take time to sit quietly in the presence of the Father today.
- Listen for His voice
- Let Him remind you of all the ways you are a Joseph- an Everyday Hero
I Choose To Believe
That I Am An Everyday Hero
Fulfilling The Purposes of God
Everyday Heroes Raise Me Up