Warm Up the Outside First

The little boy walked into the church, shivering from the cold. His lips were so chapped it hurt too much to smile. Not that he had any reason to. It was Christmas day, and he was going to starve. He slipped into the unlocked foyer and curled up beside a heater vent – at least it was warmer.

Across the street a boy ran to the preacher. “There’s a little boy in the church, Daddy! Doesn’t he know we don’t have church on Christmas day?”

The pastor considered. A little boy? Why would he be in the church today? “Son, why don’t you get your coat and boots? We’ll go see if we can find out why he’s here today.”

The cold little boy was afraid of them when they first approached but finally agreed to go across the street to a warm home, delicious meal, and some hand-me-down clothes. As he sat waiting for some authority to decide his fate though, he became curious. “Mister, why didn’t you let me stay in the church? One time I heard someone say that the church always had the answer to your problems. And it was warmer in there than it is outside.”

“Would you rather have stayed over there?”

“Oh, no! It’s a lot better here! But you didn’t have to come get me.”

“Well, whoever told you that church has all the answers was right, but I think we could put it a better way.” And the young father began to explain the story of Christmas and the love of God to his new friend. This story is entirely fictional, but I like to think that something like this might happen. Sometimes you have to warm up someone’s outsides before you can thaw out the heart.

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