Let me introduce you to my very special friend, Terri. Terri and I were on the For the Love launch team together and I had the pleasure of meeting her in person when we attended the Launch party in Austin at the Hatmakers. She is lovely, smart, kind, compassionate and a beautiful writer.  I think you will love this message from her today- a message of Christmas hope!  Read more from Terri at her blog, Conversations at the Table.

candle-flame-free1I am often reminded of the day I stood frozen before our television in January of 1982.  “Breaking news” interrupted whatever show I had been watching on tv. Shortly after takeoff from Washington, DC a plane bound for Florida hit the 14th Street Bridge in a winter storm and plummeted into the icy Potomac River. There were 6 survivors, initially, clinging to the tail of the plane, a small island of hope in the freezing water. Emergency response teams arrived, but access to the survivors was limited by the river’s thick ice.

They say you can only survive in freezing water 30 minutes.

People had lined up on the streets to watch. Hearts in shock.Hearts racing. Hearts praying.Feet paralyzed and powerless.

Nineteen minutes later a helicopter arrived and hovered over the visible wreckage and lowered a life-line. One at a time, they took them to land and returned for another. Time is critical now. The rope went to Priscilla Tirado, but her arms were numb and she couldn’t grab the rope. She cried out.  The rope went to another survivor.

I remember gasping hard.

Then there was Lenny Skutnik. On his way home from work, Lenny had witnessed the crash and watched, along with many onlookers, as minutes unfolded. When he saw the woman who couldn’t grab the rope, he tore off his jacket and ran toward the water.

Did others see beyond the near white-out conditions in this winter storm?

How often do I see the storm and miss the person perishing in its midst, unable to grab the lifeline?

He ran toward the woman perishing.

Lenny Skutnik dove into the frigid Potomac River where the plane had broken through the ice. He swam about 25 feet in the piercingly cold water. He pulled her to land. He was the life-line. For a few others, it was the rope dropped from a rescue helicopter.

Did you know that the Hebrew word for hope, teqvah, (the noun) means cord?

Lenny Skutnik reveals the heart of God to me. The scene ripples through my faith journey. For God, too, saw that we were perishing.  He sent his Son wrapped in baby skin humanity to save us. He sees us drowning in our icy financial messes, our deteriorating health, our judgmental thoughts and our broken hearts grieving unending losses.

Our compassionate God is our cord of hope. He continually has a life-line for each of us. He knows and sees us. He is aware of every situation in our world. Even from far away, He understands all the aches in our hearts. And He is for us. This God of ours runs toward us with a cord of hope, with his outstretched hand. He isn’t paralyzed by the situation. Our Father doesn’t turn away. He jumps into our messes because He loves us so much.

He doesn’t see just the icy water. He sees the person perishing.



Terri is a wife, mom, perpetual dog owner, tortilla soup maker, blogger, inspired by God’s Word and His creation. Her writing captures the intersection of faith and her life experiences. She is a contributor to The Glorious Table. She hikes, snowshoes, looks for fossils and carries a camera. Terri blogs at Conversations at the Table.