We were the only family with children in the
restaurant. I sat Justin in a high chair and
noticed everyone was eating and talking. Suddenly,
Justin squealed with delight and said, "Hi there."
He pounded his fat baby hands on the high chair
tray. His eyes were wide with excitement and his
mouth was bared in a toothless grin. He wriggled
and giggled with merriment.
I looked around and saw the source of his merriment.
It was a man with a tattered rag of a coat; dirty,
greasy and worn. His pants were baggy with a zipper
at half-mast and his toes poked out of would-be
shoes. His shirt was dirty and his hair was
uncombed and unwashed. His whiskers were too short
to be called a beard and his nose was so varicose it
looked like a road map. We were too far from him to
tell, but I was sure he smelled. His hands waved
and flapped on loose wrists.
"Hi there, baby; hi there, big boy. I see ya,
buster," the man said to Justin.
My husband and I exchanged looks, "What do we do?"
Justin continued to laugh and answer, "Hi, hi there."
Everyone in the restaurant noticed and looked at us
and then at the man. The old geezer was creating a
nuisance with my beautiful baby.
Our meal came and the man began shouting from across
the room, "Do ya know patty cake? Do you know
peek-a-boo? Hey, look, he knows peek-a-boo."
Nobody thought the old man was cute. He was
obviously drunk. My husband and I were
embarrassed. We ate in silence; all except for
Justin, who was running through his repertoire for
the admiring skid-row bum, who in turn, reciprocated
with his cute comments. We finally got through the
meal and headed for the door. My husband went to
pay the check and told me to meet him in the
parking lot. The old man sat poised between me and
"Lord, just let me out of here before he speaks to
me or Justin," I prayed.
As I drew closer to the man, I turned my back trying
to sidestep him and avoid any air he might be
breathing. As I did, Justin leaned over my arm,
reaching with both arms in a baby's "pick-me-up"
position. Before I could stop him, Justin had
propelled himself from my arms to the man's.
Suddenly a very old smelly man and a very young baby
consummated their love relationship. Justin in an
act of total trust, love, and submission laid his
tiny head upon the man's ragged shoulder. The man's
eyes closed, and I saw tears hover beneath his
lashes. His aged hands, full of grime, pain, and
hard labor, gently, so gently, cradled my baby's
bottom and stroked his back. No two beings have
ever loved so deeply for so short a time.
I stood awestruck. The old man rocked and cradled
Justin in his arms for a moment, and then his eyes
opened and set squarely on mine. He said in a firm
commanding voice, "You take care of this baby."
Somehow I managed, "I will," from a throat that
contained a stone.
He pried Justin from his chest-unwillingly,
longingly, as though he were in pain. I received my
baby, and the man said, "God bless you, ma'am,
you've given me my Christmas gift."
Justin in my arms, I ran for the car. My husband
was wondering why I was crying and holding Justin so
tightly, and why I was saying, "My God, my God,
I had just witnessed Christ's love shown through the
innocence of a tiny child who saw no sin, who made
no judgment; a child who saw a soul, and a mother
who saw a suit of clothes. I was a Christian who
was blind, holding a child who was not.
I felt it was God asking, "Are you willing to share
your son for a moment?"-when He shared His for
The ragged old man, unwittingly, had reminded me,
"To enter the Kingdom of God, we must become as
If this has blessed you, please bless others by
sending it on to a friend as I did.
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God gives us the gift of faith to share. May we give it to others in the loving spirit in which it was given to us. Sharing is caring.
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