Thanks for again restoring my faith in humanity

Published 3:00 pm Wednesday, December 18, 2019

I had planned to take on the topic of the Vicksburg mythical water park this week, but I had second thoughts while sitting at my desk Tuesday afternoon and decided to reach back several years to a column I wrote and use it.

You might call it laziness (maybe), but I felt I needed to do something to help get me into the Christmas spirit, which can be shaken when part of your job involves covering man’s inhumanity to man. Besides, there’s an element of Warren County in this, which I’ll describe later.

This week, I’m going to use the closing sermon from the 1947 movie “The Bishops’ Wife,” which starred David Niven, Loretta Young and Cary Grant. David Niven, who played the bishop, delivered this message as his Christmas sermon:

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“Tonight I want to tell you the story of an empty stocking.

“Once upon a midnight clear, there was a child’s cry, a blazing star hung over a stable, and wise men came with birthday gifts. We haven’t forgotten that night down the centuries. We celebrate it with stars on Christmas trees, with the sound of bells, and with gifts.

“But especially with gifts. You give me a book, I give you a tie. Aunt Martha has always wanted an orange squeezer and Uncle Henry can do with a new pipe. For we forget nobody, adult or child. All the stockings are filled, all that is, except one. And we have even forgotten to hang it up. The stocking for the child born in a manger. It’s his birthday we’re celebrating. Don’t let us ever forget that.

“Let us ask ourselves what He would wish for most. And then, let each put in his share, loving kindness, warm hearts, and a stretched out hand of tolerance. All the shining gifts that make peace on earth.”

This past year, the people of Warren County and volunteers from other areas reached out to their neighbors in Eagle Lake and in other areas of northern Warren County to help them recover from a devastating flood that forced families to leave their homes and destroyed their property. Some gave their time and some gave money, either on their own or through the fundraisers to help those in need.

As a community, people in Warren County have always provided help to people in need, and in their own way filling that empty stocking David Niven talked about.

I’ve seen a lot of things over the years that have shaken my faith in man; people shot over minor things, families torn apart by violence both natural and man-made. It’s easy to become a cynical observer of the human condition.

And then I see things that restore my faith in mankind — like people banding together to help those less fortunate or the victims of disaster.

Our year is slowly winding down, and 2019 has been an interesting year, especially with a record-setting flood that displaced people and threatened the livelihood of area farmers. And the efforts of those who helped others in need turned this year into something special. 

Thanks for restoring my faith in people and a Merry Christmas to all.


John Surratt is a staff writer for The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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