Okay, one last story to share on Christmas Eve. Again, I don’t know where this originated, but it deserves to be put out there.
A friend of mine named Paul received an automobile from his brother as a pre-Christmas present. On Christmas Eve, when Paul came out of his office, a street urchin was walking around the shiny new car, admiring it.
Is this your car, Mister?” he asked.
The boy looked astounded. “You mean your brother gave it to you, and it didn’t cost you anything? Gosh, I wish…”
He hesitated, and Paul knew what he was going to wish. He was going to wish he had a brother like that. But what the lad said jarred Paul all the way down to his heels.
“I wish,” the boy went on, “that I could be a brother like that.”
Paul looked at the boy in astonishment, then impulsively he added, “Would you like to ride in my automobile?”
“Oh, yes, I’d love that!”
After a short ride the urchin turned, and with his eyes aglow said, “Mister, would you mind driving in front of my house?”
Paul smiled a little. He thought he knew what the lad wanted. He wanted to show his neighbors that he could ride home in a big car. But Paul was wrong again.
“Will you stop right where those steps are?” the boy asked. He ran up the stairs. Then in a moment, Paul heard him coming back, but he was not coming fast. He was carrying his little polio-crippled brother. He sat down on the bottom step, sort of squeezed up right against him and pointed to the car.
“There she is, Buddy, just like I told you upstairs. His brother gave it to him for Christmas and it didn’t cost him a cent. Someday I’m gonna give you one just like it; then you can see for yourself all the pretty things in the Christmas windows I’ve been trying to tell you about.”
Paul got out and lifted the little lad into the front seat of the car. The shining-eyed older brother climbed in beside him and the three of them began a memorable holiday ride.
Tonight we celebrate the birth of our Brother, a brother like that.
Only, his gift is not a ride in a shiny new car.
I guess the question is, do we really understand what His gift is?
The true shame would be to leave it unwrapped and unopened among all the other glittery packages.
The true magic of Christmas is not in the presents, but in His presence.