Butterfly Effect At Christmas

You’ve heard of the butterfly effect, I suppose. It was on display in all its glory — and I mean that — last week.

About a hundred years ago, a little girl in Wheeling, Daisy Scott, died. She must have been a wonderful, kind child, to judge by what her family did. They gave a substantial amount of money to St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, asking that the fund be used for children at Christmas time.

It has been, in many ways. The folks at St. Matthew’s take their charge seriously. I know one who uses part of her vacation time from work to ensure the church’s mission is completed on time.

Now we come back to the butterfly effect. If you’re not familiar with it, the idea is that even the smallest action in our world — a butterfly flapping its wings — can set off a chain reaction that ends in really big things happening.

Down through the years, the St. Matthew’s program and many others ranging from those at other churches to the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots project, have made Christmas merrier for millions of children.

What effect did that have on them? Did it brighten the outlook of some on life enough to help them do better in school? Did some, becoming adults, pay it forward? One thing we know: Helping others at Christmas has a beneficial effect on them.

On Thursday, during her daily press briefing at the White House, Sarah Huckabee Sanders began by taking about a minute to talk about St. Matthew’s. Few of the reporters seemed to take note, much less say anything about the comments. Who cares about a little church in tiny Wheeling? It isn’t even close to Richmond, is it?

More’s the pity. They missed the most important story of the day, by far.

Many people have heard about Sanders’ comment, through the few press outlets that reported them and via the internet.

Beyond any doubt, hearing about St. Matthew’s made them think about doing something themselves for needy children at Christmas.

Who can say how far out the ripples from Sanders’ comments — from something done long ago in memory of a little girl — will reach? How many children will be touched by those ripples?

What will those little ones do when they grow up? How many lives will they touch, perhaps dramatically?

It’s the butterfly effect, Christmas miracle version.

Here’s hoping it makes you think about creating your own butterfly effect this Christmas season.

Myer can be reached at: mmyer@theintelligencer.net.


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