Christmas time is such a busy and joyful time for most, but for some, it is when the loneliness of one’s life becomes blaringly obvious. For those, scrolling through the beautiful flashes of families, friends, spouses, and children enlarges their empty spaces, echoing the longing these images evoke. Unanswered prayers are spilled at the manger instead of gratitude and glee. The barren wombs… the recently divorced… the perpetual singles…the widow…the new transplant… the mourner…
This article is for them.
Notice those that slip past you this holiday. The ones sitting alone in the church pew or at your local diner. I challenge you to remember those that may not have a gift under the tree to unwrap this Christmas and find a way to bless them.
“You can pick one.” Momma said, pointing to the cardboard display near the grocery store check-out. My sister, Tricia, and I agreed on the book and record set “The Christmas Tree that Ran Away.”
At home, we disappeared into our room to play our new record on our 45-rpm record player.
Nobody wants me and tomorrow’s Christmas day.
Nobody needs me for the Christmas holiday.
Nobody loves me, and I have no place to stay.
Nobody wants me.
I’m gonna run away!
I sobbed. It was the saddest Christmas story ever.
“Nobody wants him,” I cried.
Tricia rubbed my back. “Tammy, it’s okay. The Christmas tree found a home in the end.”
That Christmas, as I passed by our wild forest-found Christmas tree, I made sure to pet it and express my love. Since I believed in equality, I bruised Momma’s houseplants with my affections as well.
Tonight, while hanging my sister’s hand- painted ornaments on her little memorial tree, that memory came back to me. I told my daughter, Bella, about The Christmas Tree that Ran Away song, before playing it on my laptop.
“Isn’t it sad, Bella?” I said, expecting her to agree.
Instead, she changed the song before hearing the end and shot me the same look Tricia did years ago, as if I’m the crazy one.
A few nights ago, while stuck in traffic, I noticed something odd on the sidewalk ahead.
I pointed out the window. “What is that Bella?” I said, trusting her seven-year-old eyes more than mine.
She leaned forward, “Is it a dog?”
A large black and white dog seemed out of place on the sidewalk outside the Target shopping center at Millenia Mall. “Aw, Bella. We can’t leave it here. I’ll have to pull over. We can take it to the SPCA.”
The traffic moved forward. We peered out the window while pulling up beside the animal.
“Eww!” She scrunched her nose. “He’s scratching his privates.”
It was not a dog after all, but a man sprawled on his side, wearing a t-shirt and boxers. He held his leg hoisted in the air while he vigorously scratched his crotch. It was the vilest vision of humanity I’ve seen in a long while.
I didn’t pull over.
I hit the gas.
“Momma, why is he lying there?”
“Because he’s broken, Bella. Only God can fix him.”
“He needs one of our homeless bags,” she said.
Bella and I had filled homeless bags with Bibles, personal products, gloves, socks, food, etc., around Thanksgiving, to hand out this Christmas season. I’m ashamed to admit, they are still in my garage.
This morning at 4am, I awakened to a jingle flooding my mind. I couldn’t silence it, so I puttered out of bed and made a cup of coffee.
“Nobody wants me and tomorrow’s Christmas day.”
“Nobody needs me for the Christmas holiday.”
“Nobody wants me, and I have no place to stay. Nobody wants me. I’m going to run away…”
While the coffee brewed and I hummed the tune, God’s still small voice penetrated. You would’ve stopped for a dog. I saw him…a man laid out on a sidewalk.
And I saw Him…a tiny baby wrapped in strips of cloth, lying in a hay-filled manger because there was no place for him in the inn. Luke 2:7 (ESV)
God understands homelessness.
He understands not being wanted.
Feeling uninvited, unincluded, and rejected.
He understands feeling alone.
“Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Matthew 8:20 (ESV)
But some truth? Christ came so we wouldn’t feel that way. He chose to be born in a manger and die a criminal’s death in our place. We are chosen, invited, included, and loved no matter who we are. He loves that broken man sprawled on the sidewalk, just as he is.
He loves you just as you are.
That’s the gift.
“Somebody wants me and today is Christmas Day.”
“Somebody needs me for the Christmas holiday.”
“Somebody loves me, and I have a place to stay.”
“Somebody wants me…and I’ll never run away.”
If we all accepted the gift and lived our lives knowing we are loved unconditionally by the Creator of the Universe, there’d be less drug addictions, homelessness, divorce, selfishness…you name it. There would be less people trying to earn His affection and favor, and more people knowing who God created them to be.
So, I hope you’ll take the time to listen to the Christmas Tree that Ran Away –all the way to the end, where the words change and know that a baby was born in a stable to prove this to you.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” John 3:16-18 (ESV)
A note to our readers from Tammy: Currently our entire team has been hit with various struggles from health to employment issues. We would covet your prayers in this area. Specifically, please pray for Bonnie for complete healing from Covid, Liz and her family regarding employment, and Jason as he’s working long hours out of state.
Furthermore, it seemed the more money and work put into the blog the less readers, as the readership has plummeted over the last year. It’s been discouraging to say the least to work so hard and see little return, but it could be God’s way of redirecting our ministry.
In January, I will be launching more audio material. As for now, I am praying over the direction to take in this endeavor.
If you are interested in writing a story or something that God has put on your heart to be shared on our website, feel free to reach out to me via email. firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a synopsis of your article.
Also, if anyone has a story to share and is interested in becoming a guest on a podcast for The Hallelujah House, I’d love to talk to you.
Thank you for those who have read my blogs over the last 11 years. I’ve been truly blessed by you.
If you’d like to make goodie bags for the homeless. Here are some items you may want to include in your bag: (But, I suggest never going alone, always in a group.)
- Food items
- Emergency blanket
- Pack of wipes
- Hand sanitizer
- Lip Balm
- Full-size Bibles (Available paperbacks full-size print on Amazon for $3.00)
- Gospel Tract
From our House to Yours…
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Tammy Carter Adams is the founder of The Hallelujah House and a blogger for 11 years. When she’s not blogging, Tammy’s passions include painting canvases, interior design, and teaching others about Jesus. Currently, Tammy is working on completing a book and enjoying the Christmas break with her husband and four children. If you’d like to reach out to her personally, you can find her contact information under the About Us tab on the Home page.