The Best Christmas Gift

It was a simple hug.  A young father and mother with a babe in arms entered a restaurant, chose a booth, placed their son in a high chair at the end of the table and ordered their meal.  A man came in and sat down at the next booth between them and the exit.  In doing so he caught the child’s fancy.  The little boy gave  iny baby-style waves and said, “Hi!”  The unkept man, his clothes ragged, his hair greasy; his beard scraggly, smiled and waved back.  The boy giggled and waved again thus beginning a stream of playful communication with the less than desirable individual in the neighboring booth.

The uncomfortable couple finished their food quickly, avoiding all eye-contact with him. When it came time to leave the husband told his wife to take the boy to the car while he paid for their meal.  She quickly gathered up the child and turned toward the door only to find herself face to face with the stranger.  The mixed odors of alcohol and sweat accosted her.

Before she could stop her son, he thrust himself out of his mother’s arms and into the man’s.  Startled, the mother watched as the child snuggled down and places his blond head on the man’s grimy shoulder.  As she watched tears filled the man’s eyes.  The slightly tipsy and the innocent child hugged for a moment.  And then gently the man returned the child to the mother and said, “Thank you for the best Christmas gift evert.”

I don’t know who wrote the story or first posted it on e-mail so I can’t give credit where it is due.  But one mom as changed.  For one moment she saw the love of Christ through the eyes of her child.  The infant saw no sin; no judgement; no distaste; no criticism; no smelly clothes but merely a fellow human being.  It was like God said to her, “You shared your son for a moment but I shared My son for all eternity.”

I wonder how God felt as He entrusted His son into our arms 2000 years ago?  His perfect son to an filthy, decadent and diseased human being? “For God so loved…”  (John 3:16)  “Thank you dear Father, for the best Christmas gift ever.”

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