A Christmas Love Song
By Anthony Casperson
It often isn’t until about a week before Christmas that I’m ready to experience the season. Decorations, TV specials, and carols may have been going on for weeks by now, but I try to steer clear as much as possible until just about now…or in another day or two.
Though, once the time has come, there is one song that I seek out every year. One that helps me appreciate the season more than most other things. One that’s not likely to top anybody else’s list of favorite Christmas songs. And one that can be forgotten unless you seek out one of the versions of the song that exists. (I know of three different renditions of it.)
The song in question is called The Christmas Shoes.
In the melodic story, we’re introduced to a person who’s out buying his last gift or two on Christmas Eve. He’s tired of being in another line. And his mood is less than the picturesque cheer of the season. Standing in line, in front of this man, is a little boy in dirty, old, worn-out clothes. And in his hands is a pair of women’s shoes.
When it comes to the boy’s turn to pay, he tells a story to the cashier about how the shoes are for his mother. She’s been sick for quite a while. And he thinks these shoes would be perfect for her. He wants to bring a smile to his mom’s face and to make sure she’s beautiful if she meets Jesus tonight.
But the boy doesn’t have enough money for the shoes. Frantically, he searches his pockets for non-existent coins. Turning to the man behind him, the boy asks what he’s going to do. His mom had gone so many years without, just to make sure he’s had a good Christmas. Somehow, he’s gotta buy these shoes so that she can have one last good Christmas.
Overcome with the sense of this boy’s love for his mom, the man pays for the shoes. The little boy thanks the man saying that his mom’s going to look great. And off the child runs to give his mom the shoes before she dies.
Near the end of the song, the man says that he knew he’d caught glimpse of heaven’s love in the boy’s thankful face. God had reminded him of the love that Christmas is all about by sending that little boy in his path.
The song invites us to stop thinking about the rush of the season. It asks us to experience the sorrowful joy of a gift given in selfless love. The tear-filled beauty of God enfleshing himself in humanity so that he could die as sacrifice for us. The love of the Father given to his creation, doomed to die unless somehow he could get his gift to us.
This reminder of God’s love is one that I think we need over and over again. Whether we love all of the seasonal paraphernalia or find it difficult to experience the onslaught, the extent of God’s love is the greatest gift any could receive.
And it makes us look beautiful in the eyes of Jesus.