One Christmas Amazed
There’s a Christmas for Santa
And a Christmas for Elves
And a Christmas for stores
That are filling their shelves
There’s Christmas on TV
And for fresh falling snow
And trees decorated with lights that can glow
But in the midst of the ruckus that is filling our lanes
Is there room for the Child
Who gave Christmas its name?
Is there space at our table for a forgotten lost son?
Is there a place on our lists for someone with no home?
Is there hope in our hearts for the broken and shamed?
Or are we too busy to remember their names?
As you put up your tree then on top place the star
That remembers the kings who came from so far
Who knelt and rejoiced back in old Bethlehem
As they opened their gifts in their worship for Him
Take a moment to pray with a heart full of praise
For on Christmas was born God’s true grace that amazed
Poem One Christmas Amazed by Peter Caligiuri 2016
This particular hymn holds a lot of personal meaning for my life. When I was briefly homeless as a teenager I experienced so much of these verses. “Jesus sought when a stranger” could have never been more true than my being invited to church on an Easter Sunday. I wasn’t just the guy next door, I was the vagrant hitchhiker that needed a warm meal. I had no idea that it was Easter until I entered the church service to which I had gone to get the free food afterward. I chose to sit in the back when I realized that I was definitely not dressed for the occasion. But contrary to my expectations, I discovered that the people at that little church accepted me and seemed strangely delighted that I had come.
Once the Easter service was over I was served a traditional ham dinner out back of the church together with all the other members. The afternoon passed quickly as I enjoyed the time with my new friends. How surprised was I to learn that they also had a late afternoon worship. By that time I was more than happy to stay a bit longer. No one pressured me that entire day to “be born again” or any of the other terms which I wouldn’t have recognized anyway. But I was drawn as if by a gigantic spiritual magnet.My heart was becoming bound with the fetter of God’s love yet I didn’t struggle a bit. Afterward when it was nearly time to go on my way, I was just hanging around with some of the teens and someone (not the pastor!) innocently asked if I would like to take a friend along. “What do you mean?” I suspiciously asked beginning to wonder which of them wanted to follow me. “We’re talking about Jesus?” one of them smiled and replied. In that single moment all my past defenses fell to the ground at the very evident power and presence of the love of Jesus Christ. At that moment God began what has now become a 45 year sealing of my heart to His courts above.
God bless you as you listen again to these familiar lyrics written by a young man by the name of Robert Robinson in 1757. Like Robinson I have also had my struggles over a lifetime journey of faith, yet God has been faithful and His grace always mighty to save!
…I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies Psalm 23:4-5
In David’s Psalm I often picture a meadow of the greenest grass in the very heart of the dark valley. There, while the enemies of the sheep peered down from the rocks, the Good Shepherd stood guard over the sheep as they grazed. They calmly eat then lie down to rest, trusting that they are safe. When they hear the silent footsteps of the enemy or see a shadow move in the distance, they have only to glance up to reassure themselves that the shepherd’s staff and his heavy rod are there. Then they rest their heads back down on their hooves and sleep.
What enemies are you facing today? What fear is keeping you from finding green pastures to rest in? When you trust in Jesus Christ as your Good Shepherd you will discover that He has also prepared a table for you. It does not matter what dangers you face, His rod and staff will keep you in perfect peace even in the presence of your enemies!