A day like no other
Joe stood at the door of his motel room surveying an unfamiliar town still shrouded in morning mist. “If I think of this as just another day,” he said to himself, “then I’ll stop this ache of missing Christmas with my family.” Locking the door behind him he stepped into the mist to explore the unfamiliar.
On an embankment at the side of an old church sat a homeless man amongst all his possessions in plastics bags. Waving to Joe he called out: “Happy Christmas mate!” “Same to you,” Joe responded, adding, “Got anywhere to go for Christmas?” “I’ve got everywhere to go,” was the happy reply.
Further along the road Joe came across an old woman picking up rubbish. “You seem very busy,” observed Joe. Without looking up she muttered: “Someone has to clean up if the king is supposed to arrive today!”
Further along a woman called out to him from a van serving breakfast for the homeless. “Have a Christmas coffee.” “Do you do this often,” said Joe, sipping his warm drink. “Provides a distraction from my feuding family,” she replied. “Better chance of meeting Jesus down here!” Responding to her twinkling eyes, Joe asked, “Have you met him yet?” “See that long-hair guy,” she said. “When he calls himself “Jesus” people call him delusional. When I called him Jesus this morning, he said his Father told him to give me a special blessing. It was so beautiful I cried. Changed my day!”
Drawn to attend a Christmas service, Joe found himself sitting beside a down-syndrome man. As they greeted each other during the passing of the peace the little man hugged him saying, “Happy Jesus’ day. I’m Tom. You by yourself? You come to our special dinner?” Tom then turned to his companion, saying: “You tell him, Andy.” Warmly shaking Joe’s hand, Andy said, “The peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” Placing his hand on Tom’s shoulder, he continued. “Tom’s gift to our little community is hospitality. If you’ve no other commitments, Tom would love to host you.” Tom’s evident delight made it impossible for Joe to refuse.
On a day that was supposed to be like any other, heaven’s door had opened. There was a homeless man who had everywhere to go. An old lady was preparing for a king. A man called Jesus blessed and cheered a sad woman. Topping it off was a man, considered poor by worldly standards, who offered Joe rich hospitality from a Christ-like heart. The welcoming hugs, the special place at the table, the splendid dinner, the prayers, the songs, and the dancing of Tom’s community offered a gentle balm to an aching heart that was a long way from home. To Joe’s apology for coming without presents Tom simply said: “You come just like Jesus at Christmas. He’s our best present.”