Roy Smith was a preacher of a past generation. In his book Tales I’ve Told Twice, he tells about being at a dress rehearsal for the school play. He was a freshman at the little junior college in the town where his family always lived. He didn’t know how but somehow his father had scraped together enough money to buy him a new pair of shoes. His parents bought him this new pair of shoes because he had the lead in the school play. Roy was on stage rehearsing his part when someone burst into the auditorium and excitedly said, "Roy come quickly. Your daddy has been hurt at the mill." Roy ran as fast as he could but his father was dead by the time he arrived.
Roy, his mother, and brother took his father’s body and laid it to rest on one of the windswept hills of Kansas. Afterwards he and his brother went back to the mill to retrieve his father’s things. The men at the mill had gathered his tools and put them his dad’s wooden toolbox. They’d respectfully folded his coveralls stained with blood and put them in the toolbox. They took his brogan work shoes and placed them with soles facing up.
Roy said when he opened that toolbox lid the first thing he saw was the soles of those shoes. They had holes that stretched from one side to the other. On the day that his father died he had been standing nearly barefooted on the cold steel floor of that mill, but his son had new shoes. Roy Smith said when he understood the enormity of his father’s sacrifice for him he got a numbness around his heart that stayed with him throughout his life. He meant a tenderness, a sensitivity, about what it cost the Father to provide us salvation.
I picked this awful passage for Christmas Sunday to tell you that Christmas did not eliminate evil and suffering, but one day it will. When we see the whole story of Christmas we will not lose sight of the enormous price God paid for us to one day live with Him in a world that has eliminated evil and suffering. This is the hope Christmas brings.
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