Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Christmas with Jesus
My most memorable Christmas occurred in 1956, when I was about six years old. The town where we lived had a naval base, sort of the last remaining remnant of World War II. My oldest brother, Butch, was about sixteen or seventeen.
One Christmas Eve he came home telling our Mom and Dad he had just seen a young sailor walking all alone down town. He told them he had almost stopped and invited him home for Christmas. Mama and Daddy asked, “Why didn’t you?”
“Really?" Butch replied. “Well, maybe I can still find him.”
Butch quickly left to go look for the sailor while I sat by the window pondering about what I’d just overheard. Not long before this, my grandmother had told me the story of Jesus going to three homes as a stranger. At the first two he was turned away but at the third he was welcomed and the family had shared what little they had with the stranger.
So here I sat with my seven-year-old brain quickly concluding that the sailor was Jesus and that my very own big brother had recognized this fact and invited him to our house for Christmas.
I waited by the window for what seemed a very long time when suddenly the old white Studebaker appeared in the driveway. Butch walked toward the house followed by a young sailor not much older.
Mom and Dad welcomed the young man to our house and though he looked a bit confused at first, he soon relaxed and made himself at home. Mama explained to him that the entire family would be going to Christmas Eve service at church and he was more than welcome to join us.
So off we went, Mama, Dad, Butch, Mike, Jesus and me. I made myself comfortable right by his side. Sometime during the service I fell asleep and was later told that our guest had carried me to the car. When we returned home and as the tradition in our family, we were each allowed to select one gift to open.
I was worried about our guest not having a gift so I asked Mom if she thought Daddy would mind if I gave the embroidered handkerchief I had made for him to the young sailor. I had embroidered the initial “S” for Simpson on the starched white cloth but thought it could just as easily stand for sailor.
Mom said she didn’t think he would mind and so I gave my gift to our special guest.
We never did see the young sailor again, but I always wondered what became of him or if he remembered the family who welcomed him for Christmas when he was just a stranger.