The true face if Christmas, I discovered yesterday, is the face of our neighbor.
He is a contractor and builder, working his body and spirit now just to the edge of limit. Just as he was arriving home late Friday afternoon at the end of a long
work week, we heard a leak in one of our pipes. Reluctantly, we called him. He came down as soon as he had eaten and worked until 9pm, fixing it. Just as we were rejoicing by turning on the water pump, an even louder, bigger leak burst through the bathroom
wall, creating a waterfall. Off goes the water again.
He would be back in the morning, he said, and was here before 9am on Saturday. He worked at it until noon. When we asked how much we owed, he himmed and hammed and then said to us, "Well, I am a
Christian. I don't usually work on my sabbath (Friday sundown to Saturday sundown) but it seems to me that Jesus would have wanted me to help my neighbor more than keeping the rules."(At which I predictably quoted Jesus' words about this.) "So - instead of
paying me, I would like you to find a cause that helps poor children and give my fee to them." We were dumb for a few moments. We know how much he could use this money. But we quickened into respect and humility. And today we are looking for such a cause,
This, I can't help thinking, this is the real thing. This is all Jesus wanted us to see and to do. Not big Churches with divisive beliefs and judgments, and money and special clothes and buildings, but this moment, just this moment
of his helping his neighbor instead of keeping the rules.