“And the Word became flesh and lived among us” (John 1:14).
That is John’s Christmas story, which we will consider in our worship on Sunday, Dec. 21. No shepherds, angels, wise men, Joseph, Mary, or manger, just the meaning of it all. God came down to our level, in Jesus, to share our life.
Rather like Henry came down to Tommy’s level. Here’s a true story.
Henry was an adult working in a special home for children, many of whose parents had died or had abandoned them. One of those children was 8-year-old Tommy.
Tommy was not very happy living in this home. He had trouble sleeping, and would often be woken up in the night by bad dreams. He also was very shy, and had trouble making friends. When the other children were playing, Tommy often went to his room.
As Christmas approached, Henry and his colleagues planned a big party, with lots of food, games, music, lights, and a Christmas tree. Henry told all the children to come down to the dining room at 6:00 for the party.
6:00 came, and everyone was there except Tommy. A worker said that Tommy had crawled under his bed and refused to come out.
So Henry went to Tommy’s room and called him. “Tommy, Tommy.” No answer. Then he began speaking to the bed, as if Tommy were lying there. He talked about the party that was starting downstairs, how everybody was having fun playing games, how everybody was waiting on him. But still there was no answer.
So Henry dropped to his hands and knees, and lifted the cover of the bed. He got down on his arms and legs, and began to name all the wonderful foods that they were going to eat. He told Tommy that everybody had a card at their plate with their name on it. “Tommy, there’s a card with your name too. Don’t you want to come out and join us and have fun?”, Henry asked.
Still no answer. At last, because he could think of no other way to make contact with Tommy, Henry got down on his stomach and wriggled in under the bed, right alongside Tommy. He lay there with his cheek pressed against the floor. Again he told Tommy about the party, the lights, the games, the music, the food. He talked about how the other kids were really having fun, and how sad they were that Tommy was not with them.
Then, when he finally ran out of things to say, Henry simply waited on the floor beside Tommy, under the bed. After a little while, Tommy’s hand began to move toward Henry’s hand. Then Tommy’s small hand slipped into his. Henry said, “Tommy, it’s not very comfortable under here. It’s kind of cramped. Let’s you and me go out where we can stand up.” So holding Tommy’s hand, Henry and Tommy crawled out from under the bed, and went downstairs to join the party.
Christmas is about God coming down to us, in Jesus, rather like Henry did to Tommy. And in Jesus, God offers us his hand, and leads us out of our fear, toward life.