Down From His Glory Part I
"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.'"1
Henry Carter was working feverishly trying to prepare something fresh for his Christmas sermon when he was disturbed by a knock on his study door. It was the dorm mother of the church's home for disturbed children. There was a crisis upstairs with one of the boys. Most of the boys go home for Christmas and only a few were left behind and were feeling very much abandoned and unloved.
Henry reluctantly followed the dorm mother up the stairs to the small dormitory chafing inwardly at yet another interruption. This time it was Tommy. He had crawled under his bed and refused to come out. The woman pointed to one of the beds. Not even a toe showed so Henry addressed the cowboys and bucking broncos on the bedspread. He told them of the beautifully decorated Christmas tree with all the presents in the church next door … and how there was a special present for Tommy.
Tommy was not impressed and continued to "play dead."
Henry's frustration increased as he knelt down on all fours and lifted the bedspread. As he peered under the bed his eyes met two enormous blue eyes expressing the fear and pain Tommy was experiencing. Henry could have easily pulled the little eight-year-old-looking-like-a-five-year-old child from under the bed, but he knew that this wouldn't help. It was trust, not coercion, that Tommy needed—plus he needed to make the decision to come out by himself. So Henry tried as best he could to get Tommy excited about the special Christmas supper to be offered after the service, the wonderful presents, and the stocking filled with magnificent Christmas gifts with Tommy's name on it.
All to no avail.
So … what else could Henry do? He got down on his stomach and wriggled himself under the bed to lay with his cheek pressed into the floor beside Tommy. Not a word he said seemed to have any effect. Not being able to think of anything else to say, Henry just laid there in silence beside Tommy. It seemed like such a long time but as Henry patiently waited, in time a small, cold hand crept into his.
After a while Henry said, "You know, Tommy, it's pretty uncomfortable under here. Let's you and me go where we can stand up."
Ever so slowly they did.
Henry had no more worries about finding a Christmas message.2
To be concluded in tomorrow's edition of Daily Encounter.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you for the marvel of the Christmas story. Please help me to fully understand why Jesus came to earth as a baby and then some 33 years later died on a Roman cross to save mankind from our sin. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Luke 2:8-11 (NIV).
2. Adapted from "Take Hold of Love," by Henry Carter, pp 29-30, The New Guideposts Christmas Treasury. Copyright © 1998, Guideposts, Carmel, New York, 10512.