One of my favorite stories during Christmas is The Christmas Guest. Maybe you’ve read it or heard it told. The basic plot is this: A man is told that God is going to visit him on Christmas day. The man anxiously prepares for the Lord’s arrival. As he’s waiting, a homeless man knocks on his door. Even though he knows the Lord is coming, he takes time to give the man clean clothes and new shoes. A little later in the day he hears another knock. Again, he answers the door anticipating a visit from the Lord. This time it is a widowed woman who is hungry. Instead of turning her away, the man offers her soup and a warm place to stay. Just as the sun begins to set, the man hears another knock. It is not his anticipated guest; it is a child who has lost her way. Once again, the man opens his heart and helps the child find her way home. Later that night as he prays, he asks God why He didn’t come to visit on Christmas when He promised He would. The Lord replied:
Lift up your head, for I kept my word.
Three times my shadow crossed your floor.
And three times I came to your lonely door.
I was the beggar with bruised, cold feet;
And I was the woman you gave something to eat;
I was the child on the homeless street.
Three times I knocked and three times I came in
And each time I found the warmth of a friend.
Of all the gifts, love is best
And I was honored to by your Christmas guest.