Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Gift

Reality Check Repost: Christmas Gift

She stands beside the sidewalk; hair disheveled, clothes dirty, hands shaking. She hasn’t had a drag all day, let alone a high. Her hands move seemingly of their own volition; she’s scratching her head and then her arm, as she looks up and down the road and into each car that passes. She walks to the corner, hands tugging up the threadbare shirt, settling into her stance as she looks for a paying customer. A mere twenty bucks will get her a short high. All she needs is one customer.

He walks into work, the first one there as usual. He thinks of what he might do if he didn’t have the bills to pay. Get a different job, for one thing. Tell his boss and everyone else where they can go. Then he could afford the fancy motorcycle and the extra car. And his wife was always asking for money. But that wouldn’t be happening now anyway because he was moving out. The kids don’t need him any more. And he certainly doesn’t need to hear her nagging. A new job and an extra twenty thousand a year would be perfect. All he needs is a little more money.

She walks into church alone again. She smiles and the greeters return her smile, doing their job to the best of their ability. The pastor walks by but he’s too busy to greet anyone, he’s got too many important things to do. She slowly walks through the foyer into the sanctuary, watching people gather with their families, talking to friends, greeting each other with hugs. It’s like she’s invisible, but by this time in her life, she’s used to that. She sits down in her pew and waits for the service to begin. If just one person came to sit near her, perhaps she could have a real conversation. All she needs is a one kind word.

They struggle down the road, which leads through desert land and harsh, unforgiving terrain. He walks the hundred miles, sandals torn and feet bleeding, while he leads the donkey. She’s expecting, and the donkey’s spine is a hard and uncomfortable seat as the wind whips the dirt and sand into her eyes. They have little money but it needs to be enough to pay Caesar and for some lodging in the town once they arrive. The baby’s birth is immanent. Darkness falls and they finally arrive in Bethlehem. If they could only find a room, something clean with sheets for the new baby. All they need is a room.

In the midst of the darkness, suddenly a star breaks through and the light finds it’s way into the small stable. The cave that was dark and dirty now brightens as a baby’s cry echoes among the animals. The shepherds, drawn here by a vision they almost can’t believe, fall to their knees on the hard ground. This Child is special and the air fills with His holy presence. And suddenly, it’s there. What they all needed. They didn’t know it, they had forgotten or pushed it aside in trying to survive the day. But it’s there, and it’s undeniable.


It came into that stable and into the world, to touch every life and every need.

A Christmas gift to share.

Why don’t we?

By Lorraine Walker
Originally published by in Reality Check, December 2007

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