In an empty space in a remote corner of the garage, Joe wanted to apologize to his wife, but he knew it would only make her feel worse if he did. So, he blinked back his tears of frustration and began trying to make a satisfactory nest out of his jacket and other clothes from the suitcase. Mary sank into it, put her head on his lap, and fell asleep. Joe sighed, leaned back against the cement wall, and soon was asleep himself.
Several hours later Joe was awakened by the grip of his wife’s fingers clenched around his forearm. “Joseph!” she was gasping, “It’s time! It’s happening!”
Joe had been sleeping just well enough to be completely disoriented by this wake-up call. “It’s what?” he responded foggily, a heartbeat before the realization hit him. “Oh! Oh!” was his second response, and he sat up, still cradling Mary’s head in his lap. “Ok, ok,” he kept repeating, trying to get his brain up to speed. “Ok. What should I do?”
“I—don’t—know,” said Mary evenly between gasps. “I—don’t—know.”
“Do you—should I—do you want me to try and find a doctor?” was Joe’s nervous question.
“No—don’t—leave—me!” came the clenched-teeth answer.
And so the couple began a new struggle—Mary breathing and pushing, Joe encouraging and holding, both murmuring frantic prayers to a God whose timing seemed to be way off.
All alone in a Chicago parking garage.
When the turmoil was over, several hours later, a strange peace settled over that corner of the garage. Mary still lay on Joe’s coat, completely spent. Joe sat next to her, his eyes shining. In his arms he cradled their new baby boy. His heart nearly burst with the wonder of it all.
He didn’t know how many minutes or hours he had spent gazing at his tiny son, but at some point he heard a truck roll up and then stop. The doors slammed as two men in worn, blue coveralls stepped out and removed greasy caps from their heads. Joe read the name patches sewn above their breast pockets, but the script letters held no clue as to where these men had come from, or why. Somehow they did not seem surprised to find a newborn among the Broncos, Rams, and Mustangs.
In fact, they seemed spellbound at the sight of the baby, and they didn’t move any closer until Joe greeted them. “His name’s Josh,” he said, clearing his throat and motioning them over.
They knelt on the oil-spotted floor next to Joe and peered into the baby’s face. Joe had never seen such coarse-looking men take such interest in an infant. Their eyes were round with wonder, and the few words they spoke were only throaty whispers.
As Joe watched one of the strangers touch the garment his son was wrapped in, he began to understand something, though he couldn’t put words to it. He could sense a larger purpose, and he was overwhelmed at the small part he had been invited to play in a grand story. His frustration at the dusty bus ride, the pointless convention, the broken bottles and cigarette stubs on the floor of the parking garage—it all melted away and became a glistening backdrop for the story of the unfolding relationship between this baby and this mechanic. A man unaware that something was broken in his life was finding redemption in the touch of a child.
When the baby wrapped his small, white hand around the mechanic’s thick, stained finger, the man gasped and nearly cried.
And Joe too shed tears, and breathed a prayer of wordless thanks.
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:11, NIV)
9 thoughts on “[Story Break] <br/>Christmas Story — part 4”
This is such an amazing story….taking the most beautiful story ever and translating it to modern day. You kept me anxiously and excitedly waiting from week to week to get to read the next part. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this story and sharing it with others!!! You are truly gifted! Thank you for sharing your gift.
Thanks so much for reminding us in today’s circumstances, of the depths to which Christ came in order to become our Savior. Praise God for His gift–Christ the Lord! Keep writing, Melanie, and Merry Christmas to you too!
Thank you, Deana and Ann. I have really enjoyed this blog series, and I’m a little bit sad to end it! It’s been a blessing to me as a writer, as a Christian, and as a member of a creative Christian community. I’ve appreciated your supportive comments throughout the series. Merry Christmas to you! My heart is full of the season!
When I say that” this is well written”, what I mean is that you made me feel like I was in the hotel with Joe and Mary.I could feel their confusion, and fear.The artists notes helped me to see Sharon`s vision more clearly.Good job Melanie !
Thanks, Dave. That’s exactly what I was hoping for!
“A man unaware that something was broken in his life was finding redemption in the touch of a child.” Thanks, Melanie and Sharon, for reminding me that the touch of Jesus heals all of our brokenness.
Thanks Laura. I do have a couple of atheists who read my blog, and I try to keep them in mind when I’m writing “Christian” stuff. They remind me that not everyone is “searching,” and many unbelievers don’t consider themselves “lost.” So the mechanic represents anyone who is “unaware that something is broken in his life”—and, as you said, all of us have areas of brokenness—some we’re aware of, and some we’re blind to.
Mel, Thanks for providing this modern version of the greatest story ever told. Each time I read a section, I was forced to stop, reflect and give praise. Thanks, friend.
Marilyn, how nice to hear from you! Actually, I didn’t realize you were a subscriber—or do you just read it via Facebook or LinkedIn? Anyway, I’m glad you posted a comment, and I hope you’ll do so again!
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