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Homeless in Chicago

George was a homeless man who lived in a rented room at a Chicago YMCA. He spent his mornings napping in the back of a police precinct, where he had become something of a fixture. Two of the officers had grown kind of fond of the old guy, who wrapped his shoes in rubber bands to keep the soles from flapping. The two policemen would sometimes slip him a few bucks to help him on his way. They knew that George got a free breakfast every morning from Billy the Greek, who owned the nearby G and W Grill. Billy made George a free hot breakfast every morning. When Christmas came one year, the two officers invited George over for dinner. When he got there, they pulled out several presents for him to unwrap. As they drove him back to the Y later that night, George asked if they could swing by the G and W first. They said, sure. They let George out of the car. George had been rewrapping the presents he had received that night. Then they watched in disbelief as George walked up to Billy, the short-order cook at the greasy spoon. “You’ve been good to me, Billy. Now I can be good to you. Merry Christmas.” George gave every single present to Billy.

George knew he had received much. And he wanted to give back as much as he could. Christmas is a reminder of how much we have received through Christ. Philippians 2 reminds us that Christ humbled himself, taking the form of a servant. He took another step down the ladder as he went to the cross to secure our salvation. Christ willingly gave up his life so that we could have His!

My prayer is that Christmas will be more than a hectic race against the clock for more stuff. I pray that in the middle of the Christmas chaos around us, we will pause and say to God,

“You’ve been so good to me, God. Now I can be good to you.” That we will recognize His grace to us and respond with a life of grace and gratitude.

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