On April 19,1968 on a bridge in South Vietnam, nineteen year old United States Marine, Craig Belknap was severely wounded by enemy small arms fire. The shot blew out the ball and socket in the Marine’s hip, and as his life slipped away and darkness descended, he shouted out, “Corpsman up!”
Doc Eric Hefright, the Navy paramedic attached to the wounded Marine’s unit, heard the call, and despite the danger from enemy fire, the corpsman answered Belknap’s plea. Soon the darkness that had descended on the wounded Marine vanished revealing the light once more.
The wounded Marine was hit again while Hefright treated him. Then Hefright was also hit in the hand and foot, but because the faithful corpsman stood by his post, the Marine survived. For his gallantry in action that day, Hefright was awarded the Silver Star, but his real reward was the life he saved.
Two thousand years ago, Jesus of Nazareth announced:
"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life."
As we celebrate the birth of our Savior this Christmas, may we embrace the light that Jesus offers to those who believe in him. It is a light that warms and comforts us and dispels the darkness of sin as it guides us safely through life.
Thanks to my good friend Foster Ulrich for providing the inspiration for this Parable.