A children’s story for Christmas Eve

Liz Stannard, 24 December 2017

Luke 1: 26–38

This is a story about three houses and a rather unexpected visitor.

In the house with the green door they had been planning it for ages. But they were worried. They had never done it before and they wanted it to be perfect. Had they got enough of this, had they got enough of that? Would everyone get on together? Would everyone have a good time?

Across town in the house with the brown door things were very different. He was sitting on his own watching the telly. He wasn’t getting ready at all. In fact he couldn’t be bothered. He hadn’t been feeling too well and he didn’t seem to have the energy or enthusiasm for it.

Around the corner in the house with the red door the children were beyond excited. They couldn’t wait for the big day. Mum, however, was already exhausted. She had been so busy and she felt she hadn’t sat down for days! Every year she vowed that she would start earlier – after all, the TV and shops had been reminding her for months.

On the same evening at 6 o’clock, then 7 o’clock and then 8 o’clock there was a knock on the door of each of the houses. In the house with the green door they worried that their guests had come early; in the house with the brown door the man was grumpy that he had been disturbed; in the house with the red door mum seriously considered ignoring it – she was far too busy.

‘Hello’, said the unknown face at each of the houses. ‘I have come a very long way and I was wondering if you could help me. I am looking for a place to stay. I’d booked in at this hotel online but I can’t seem to find it.’ And the young woman held out a piece of paper with an address on it.

‘Oh dear, that place was pulled down years ago’, each of them replied. ‘You’ll not be able to stay there, I’m afraid.’

The young woman suddenly looked very tired and sad. ‘Oh dear’, she said. ‘Then I’ll just have to ring round other places to find somewhere else to stay.’ And, pulling up her collar against the freezing wind, she turned to go.

Pulling up her collar against the freezing wind, she turned to go.

‘Wait a minute’, said each of the homeowners. ‘It’s jolly cold out there. Why don’t you come in and make your calls in the warm?’

And so that’s how, a few minutes after she had knocked on the door, the unexpected visitor was sitting at the kitchen table in the house with the green door and they were chatting like old friends. And it was strange, because as they talked all their worries seemed to disappear. They began to realise that it was silly to worry. Of course they would have plenty of food, and it didn’t really matter what happened because the most important thing was that they were all going to be together.

It was a similar story in the house with the brown door. The man had made his guest a cup of tea and they were sitting by the fire. He was pleased to have some company and he felt his sad heart begin to fill with love and warmth. He even opened the box of chocolates he’d been saving and shared it with the visitor.

In the house with the red door there was an air of calmness at last. Mum and the children were snuggled up on the sofa and mum had finally taken off her apron. She smiled to herself as she felt the wonderful sense of peace that their visitor had brought into the house.

And all because no one had said, ‘Sorry I’m too worried to welcome you’, or ‘I can’t be bothered to welcome you’, or ‘I’m too busy to welcome you’.

So this Christmas, let’s be ready to welcome the unexpected visitor; for, after all, you never quite know who that visitor might be.

Come to my heart Lord Jesus. There is room in my heart for thee. Amen.