Heart Hungry

I was out in the Carytown area yesterday. One of the worst places to be when you know that you can’t have solid food for 36 hours before a medical test. But I was looking to pick up my last meal for a few days and wanted something special.

However my husband and I ran across homeless people near the trash cans of so many of these trendy restaurants . I began to weep when I saw them because this is America….the land of excess…and yet so many are living like this. Carytown flows with cash. Most times I can afford nothing there. It was heartbreaking seeing people of all ages and colors hoping for some wasteful person’s scraps.

This situation is only exasperated by Covid closing so many churches and shelter resources. It is also created by a ” I got mine. You get yours” attitude so many financially secure people have.

We don’t have a lot in our house but we are blessed. My husband and pooled what we had and bought as many sandwiches and fries we could handle. Thank you to the Carytown McDonald’s for asking what we were doing and donating a matching amount of bottled water.

I was shook so much by one married couple out on the corner with what seemed to be all of their possessions huddled against the cold. I freaked when I noticed a baby stroller but was relieved to find it was a very old dog wrapped in a blanket. I’m not a pet lover but I had to feed it. The poor thing was so tired looking he barely lifted his head at the smell of food. The young husband was so grateful he started to cry.

In the age of Covid you can’t touch, get too close or even see smiles anymore. But I was struck by all the emotions in his eyes and they spoke the volume of the problems in the human experience. His eyes were a golden brown color that I have never seen before and pierced right through me as a reminder to be grateful in all things. Even under the dirt and behind a make shift mask his face glowed.

I also noticed that they still wore their wedding bands. Tells me that they have not been out there too long. Most folks would have pawned for a room. Also tells me that they are determined to stay a family.

My husband and I made one last pass thru the street to make sure we hadn’t missed anybody we saw. Thought I had gone crazy because the couple and that old dog were suddenly gone. No way they could have moved that fast. We had just circled the block.

All I can do is wonder if we had been visited and tested. I pray we passed. My own food is still in the fridge. No need for it. My heart filled me.

A Christmas Story

Twas the night before Christmas

And I had just closed my country store.

Turned the locks, shaded the windows

When there was a frantic knock on the door.

The sales were quite over. Merchandise was quite done.

I had had quite enough of Christmas.

Nothing left to sell ya, not a toy. Not a one.

 

I was quite tempted,

To shout “No Room At The Inn”

But remembered my Sunday School Teacher

She’d  say “ Naughty, Naughty Sin”

It was a Papa, a Mama, and a few little ones

How could I pass?

Seeing chubby cheek chilled faces

Pressed against that last pane of glass.

 

The snow and wind came in behind them,

A huge chill filled the air

Yet there was a warm glow all about them

Oh so happy I was there.

“Patch of Ice You Say, Car in a ditch, Everything Tossed”

“Big Boom” the children said excitedly

Mama chimed  “cold and lost”
On the phone  was Papa

“ We can’t wait, no place to stay.”

“Sorry Buddy”  the tow driver retorted

“Don’t you know it’s a Holiday”

Everything then in me

Wanted to hide under my bed and weep.

For surely in house full of strangers

This old shop keeper would get no sleep.

 

So I rekindled  the fire,

Boiled milk  for  a cup of cocoa or two

Exclaimed not much food left in here

But all I have is open to you.

The Kids  Got All Excited,

and  Raced to the Tree

At the prospect of candy canes still hanging

And suddenly free.

Mama was ingenious,

what she did with that spam.

Totally convinced me and the Papa

Of the miracle of canned ham.

 

As I pulled blankets, and soft pallets

And strew them about the floor

I realized though I had made a killing this Christmas,

It was they that truly had more.

They played games,  they told stories

They laughed about with glee.

They had a joy  about them

That had long ago escaped me.

 

My head and heart couldn’t take it

I yelled for them to stop

How could they be so crazy happy

When their holiday was such a flop?

No real food, amiss from  presents,

and sleeping on the floor.

Stuck in ditch and with a grumpy stranger

In an empty Christmas store.

 

When just then ,

a little hand tugged

at the hem of my dress

Said “ Hey Lady ,

in Jesus there are no strangers

and this  aint such a mess.

See we headed to grandpa’s  fancy house

Up on a really big hill

Though we were scared when the car went boom

Daddy said , “let’s find God’s good will.”

We came through the cold and snow

When God led us to your door.

And now you have shared all that you had

So I just know God will bless you more.

 

As I looked into those little eyes

It was very plain to see.

It was not me helping them that was God’s good will

But it was them helping me.

It’s not about the trimmings, not the money

Or any kind of gift

The true celebration of Christmas

Is seeking His will for who you are with.

 

As I settled in a rocker that night

Humming my little messenger to sleep.

I wonder if this was how Mary felt

And I knew why she did weep.

Though His gift was wrapped so quietly

In a manager filled with hay

He was destined to be presented triumphantly

On a Hill far away.

 

So if your Christmas spirit has  escaped you

Look around for who you are with.

Seek the will of Him who sent you.

That’s your greatest gift.

Already bought and paid for

Precious blood, highly priced.

He Reached out for a stranger

And Gifted this day in paradise.

 

Michelle Gillison-Robinson, Christmas 2016

The Presents of His Presence

Luke 11:13. So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”

Every time my younger sister comes to the house, she walks by it and groans. Every time my one of my grandsons, Jeremiah, comes to the house he exclaims, “I love it here.” So, naturally, the situation has me torn.

You see, today is Saturday, January 31,  2015 and still…. in all its splendid glory and beauty, gracing my living room like a strong tower and great representation of faith…. the tree of Christmas 2014 is still up.

Yes, I was the last one in the family to decorate, I always am. And yes, you are right, I am probably just too lazy to take it down. But, the delay lead to the joke, that lead to the miracles.

It was funny at first when on January 6, …. the official last day of Christmas tree removal etiquette…., I irritated the sister, who shall remain nameless, (you know who I am talking about, don’t you , Cheryl?) by saying “ Shoot , as long as the tree stays up , I will have a prepared place for the gifts to keep coming.” But it stopped being such a joke before long because for days….. almost every day…. stuff started coming and coming from strange places.

Actually, gifts started coming from people who said they were just thinking of us. Rebates owed started coming. A grant that had been denied was suddenly overturned and a huge medical expense paid. Some bonus money from work I wasn’t expecting showed up and on and on and on. We even took one blessing, turned it into a seed into a homeless woman and her child and watched God multiply it into a home for the two of them.

I do believe even the “unsaid” sister thought about a request or two. So much so, my husband, said “Leave it up all year, we will just change the decorations each month.” LOL.

Now surely, we know that the Christmas tree had nothing to do with it really, though it had become a testimony of God’s goodness to all that heard about it. My heart was struck by “having a place prepared for the presence of His presence and His presents” Since we have already established that the Lord loves to give gifts, spiritual and material, to his children, we should also note that Psalm 35:27 tells us to “Let the Lord be magnified, who takes pleasure in the prosperity of His servants.”.

So, would it be safe to say that the “great Christmas Tree miracle of 2014” was really the result of the members of our household and others happily blessing God. Our prepared hearts were praising and thanking him for the unusual testimony He had given us to share. I believe God was using us to get this point to a few others : He does want to bless you and care for you …… and truly that “ no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly in Him. Blessed is the man that trusts in Him” (Psalm 84:11).

As much as I have grown to love having it in the corner of the living room, I may take it down today, simply because I don’t want folks to get the notion that it is about the tree. All blessings in this house come from the Lord. Our greatest gifts came in the birth, death and ultimately, the triumphant resurrection of Christ…..freedom from the bonds of sin, sickness, death and the promises of eternal life.

Though, I just might wait until after Jeremiah visits again so I can hear him say one more time “ I love it here, It is always Christmas.” Or maybe after Valentines …or Maybe Easter…or maybe until you show up to help. You get the picture!

Prayer:
Father, in the amazing Name of Jesus, we thank You for the amazing gift of Your son, Jesus Christ,and all the grace and pleasures You have afforded us under the covenant of His blood. Lord we do not take lightly the gifts, both spiritual and in the natural , that You have given us. We appreciate them and know that You bless us to be a blessing to others. Guide us as we use your resources and talents to glorify Your kingdom. Amen.