Articles
A Snowy Trek to an Open Heaven

This is a modern day Christmas story that will touch your heart. It is free for the reading. Merry Christmas.

The real story of Christ’s birth is the Love Story of all times.  What were two hippies working in a bomb factory doing living a lavish lifestyle in an urban ghetto?  They were waiting to discover the miracle of Love.  This is their story.

The wise men journeyed a long time to reach the Messiah and they already knew His reason for coming into the physical world in advance!  We weren’t wise by any stretch of the imagination and for us the trip was even longer and continued far beyond the scope of this little moment in time.

Before I get to the heart of this story, let me clarify that the “bomb factory” that my lady, Sharon and I worked at was operated by the United States Government and sub-contracted to a tire manufacturer.  Our hope was to stop the war in Viet Nam by peaceful protest at the factory and a large number of others working there were also praying for the right time “to go public.”  In the interim, we made very good money between the two of us, and being very much in love, we spent a great deal of it on each other.

We had just received our last checks before Christmas and spent virtually all of it buying carefully thought out gifts for one another.  Friends would be dropping by a lot and the fridge was bulging and the munchies filled the cupboards. Rap sessions could go on for several days without sleep as Led Zeppelin, the Moody Blues and the Beatles’ serenaded us.  We were of diverse spiritual persuasions, Astrologers, Peace Activists and Environmentalists, following Eldridge Cleaver, Martin Luther King, Santana, Capitalism and Consumerism. We were kids who had tuned in and turned on, but not dropped out.

As soon as Sharon and I left our separate rooms where we wrapped our gifts, we noticed the snow had steadily increased until big drifts emerged from the occasional whiteouts and disappeared just as quickly.  We both sat on the wide oak seats at the base of the large bay windows and simultaneously asked, “How much money do we have left?”  We both came up with some coins and finally a one dollar bill.  A cloud of shame enveloped us both and we felt like Adam and Eve when they first realized they weren’t wearing any pants!  “How could we have been so selfish?” Sharon asked.  I was blushing so badly I could not utter a word.  Now our many gifts only for each other looked like incriminating witnesses. 

Ultimately we concocted a plan.  We would take the only dollar we had to our name…until another check came after Christmas…and give it to a very needy person. We clung to the hope that there might be a little truth to the saying, “it’s the thought that counts,” and headed out into the frigid night. Neither of us knew God…not even a little, but we held hands and prayed: “Please let us give this dollar to the right person and let us meet someone tonight. We’re sorry, but it is all we have.” This was penance.

The snowplows had scraped the street, but in the process created two foot high berms making crossing the street very difficult.  It was late into the evening and the flakes still descended like a multitude of moths surrounding a tall campfire.  We were now so cold that we would have ceased searching for anyone just to get close to any kind of fire at all.

As we were resolving to call our adventure quits, we spied an elderly black man, thin and in a long inadequate trench-coat walking toward the streetlight just across the road.  Sharon and I knew instantly that this was the very person we were destined to meet. I whispered to her that I would extend my hand to the man as if to shake his hand and have the bill cradled in my palm so as to embarrass none of us.

As we all came together in the middle of the deserted street, the old gentleman extended the wrong arm and before I realized what was happening, he was hugging both of us and wishing us “Merry Christmas.” He then began explaining, “I know you kids may think I am crazy or drunk but I am neither.”  Backing up a step from us he continued speaking as he gradually opened his hand to reveal a one dollar bill. “I want you two kids to have this.  It is all I have in the whole world, but it would mean everything to me if you would take it, please!”  I slid our dollar back into my pocket and eventually we accepted his.  We all stayed there loving on each other with our eyes filled with tears of unexplainable joy for quite a while.  Suddenly, Sharon looked up and pointed skyward.  The stars had filled the blackness with light.  We once again thanked the old man for his gift and kept on weeping silently, except for the sniffles, all the way home.

The event impacted us throughout the holiday and continues to do so to this day; particularly the coincidence that what we were offering to someone else was exactly what was coming back to us. 

As soon as our next check arrived, we rushed off to the supermarket to stock up on goodies to share with our friends over New Year’s.  That “Hawk” was blowing off Lake Michigan and right across this frozen parking lot in Joliet.  You could still see the cars filling the lot where there wasn’t great heaps of snow.  When we exited the store with our full shopping cart, a very little boy rushed out of the cold to grab its handle.  “Let me do that,” he demanded, but sweetly.  Again he reiterated, with the cart now powered by his small body, “Let me push your cart for you.”  With the bitter wind biting at her back, Sharon rushed to the car. 

The child, I noticed, had holes in the canvass of his tennis shoes and pants and he wore an old sweater.  He patiently moved the cart over ridges of ice and as I opened the hatch, he began neatly loading in the groceries.  “You get back inside the store and let me do this,” I insisted, but he remained focused on his task.  I asked Sharon to give me some change (I was a very generous man…not).  Just as she discovered she had no coins, I felt that dollar, the one I had put in these pants before our snowy trek down the avenue on that dark night.  Somehow I had worn them again this day.  I handed the little guy the dollar and he said, “I’ll get the cart in a minute but first I’ll run in and get you change for the dollar.” This big spender said, “Don’t you dare!  This dollar is for you!”  The joy on that kids face was incredible!  He was extremely polite as he thanked me and said: “Today is my first day doing this and you are the first people to give me a whole dollar.” He smiled broadly and added, “The manager said I could help people with their carts until I go back to school after the New Year.” I still didn’t know God, but I told him anyway, “God loves you.”

Sharon had heard the whole conversation and the tears were back again.  She took all the greenbacks out of her wallet and dumped them on my lap.  For a moment, I didn’t understand, then intuitively I also emptied my wallet, grabbed all those dollars, jumped out of the car and began tossing the money up into the sunshine as a little whirlwind spun it a dozen feet over the heads of people pushing away one another and screaming things like, “Get it Harold!”  We turned on the radio and watched until the last bill was gathered and the DJ stopped spinning, “All You Need is Love.”  We had hoped the little boy would have gotten some of the money but the truth is we didn’t see him again and we lived, back then, far too spontaneously to give things a lot of forethought. 

That winter we began to learn, “It is better to give than to receive.”  In the following months we discovered, “You cannot serve God and money” and we no longer wanted to.  God was beginning to look like a far better choice. Back then we had no idea He was preparing to choose us. God really does open the windows of heaven and pour you out endless blessings. 

If you haven’t become conscious of that yet, you can probably still get a big blessing for a buck on a cold winter’s night…if only you stop and pray first.

 

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