Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas at a Children's Home

It was Christmas Eve. A minister named Henry Carter was working feverishly on a Christmas sermon. He said Christmas is a hard time of year to find something fresh to say. So much activity! People also so tired with all the commercialism of Christmas to really listen to a message from God.

Carter said the house mother of the Children's Home he supervised appeared at his door with yet another crisis.

Christmas Eve is a difficult time for emotionally distrubed children in a Children's Home. Many of the children had gone home, at least over night. The childen who were left in the home reacted to the empty beds and the changed routine.

The pastor went upstairs chaffing at the repeated interuptions he had had all week. This time it was Tommy. Tommy has crawled under his bed and refused to come out.

Pastor Carter said the House Mother pointed to one of the beds in the room but not a hair nor a toe showed. So he addressed himself to the cowboys and bucking broncos on the bedspread. He said he talked about the lighted tree in the church vestibule next door. He talked about the packages underneath the tree and all the other things waiting for him out beyond the bed.

There was no answer from under the bed. The minister finally dropped to his knees and lifted the bedspread and was still fretting at the time all this latest interruption was costing him.

Two enormous brown eyes met his. Tommy was eight but looked like a frightened five year old. It would have been no trouble to simply pull the child out from under the bed.

But Tommy did not need pulling. The pastor felt like Tommy needed trust and he now needed a sense of deciding things on his own initiative.

So the pastor got down on his all fours beside the bed. He told Tommy about the stocking with his name on it that the church women has made just for him. Still here was silence. There was no sound that Tommy heard or cared.

At last, because he could think of no other way to make contact, Pastor Carter got down on his stomach and wiggled in beside Tommy, the bedsprings snagging his suit jacket. For a long time he lay there close beside Tommy.

He told Tommy about the big wreath above the altar and the candles in the windows. He reminded Tommy of the carols he and the other children would sing. Then the pastor just waited quietly beside the child.
As he waited, a small chilled hand crept into the large hand of the pastor. In a little while Carter said, “It close quarters under here, let’s you and me get out where we can stand up.

As he stood up, he saw again the wonderful truth of how God came down at Christmas. Because flattened out there on the floor, the pastor realized anew he had been given a new glimpse of the mystery of Christmas.

God had called us from far above as the pastor had called Tommy. God had called with his stars and his mountains. God had called us to enjoy His whole majestic universe. And when we would not listen, He had drawn closer. He sent prophets with words about God.

But it was not until that first Christmas when God Himself came down with a baby in His arms. It was when God Himself stooped to earth and took our very place and came to dwell with us in our loneliness and alienation that we, like Tommy dared to stretch out our hands and take hold of God’s love.

The WORD was made flesh and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten Son of God. (John 1:1-15)

The birth that is Christmas does not orbit history. History once looked forward and now looks back revolving around this historical birth that is Christmas...a birth that changed the course of history; B.C…before Christ and A.D. Anno Domini (In the year of our Lord).

The magnificent incarnation which challenged flesh to contain God has challenged our most luminous orators, writers, artist, poets and composers to contain it with words and music. It is a challenge that has produced some of the world’s greatest music and poetry. And it has always stretched language to it’s breathtaking limits.


NatLou1024 said...

What a wonderful story.. thank you Merry Christmas and God Bless you and your family during this holiday season !!! Lou

Joan said...

I enjoyed reading this. Have a wonderful Christmas!

Terrell said...

Merry Christmas, Mother. A beautiful story!

Andy McCullough said...

Aunt Ruth I enjoyed reading this story! So glad you included your blog on your Christmas Letter.

Carol said...

I hadn't heard that story before. Thanks for sharing it.

Carolyn said...

What a thought provoking story. Thank you for sharing it with us.

wishing you a healthy and happy NEW YEAR.