Heaven’s Gifts

Driving home from the Mega-Super store
On the Interstate pushing seventy-four.
Mini-van loaded full of Christmas toys,
A day of rush, stress, press and noise.
Turning on the radio to find joyful a strain,
I blinked and rubbed my eyes to ease their pain.
Fiddled with a knob adjusting the  the heat,
Two kids stuffed with candy, and gifts wrapped so neat.
Beside me was Billy's saber saw -- I got the last.
An old woman nearly beat me but wasn't quite as fast.
And Jessie got her Barbie, price was marked too low.
Not my job to watch their prices, you've got to know.
I gave a Christmas blessing to that salesman so rude,
A cursing and a yelling, until the air was blue!
The manager came running, asking what was wrong,
As the local schoolboy choir broke out in Yuletide song.
"Silent Night, Holy Night..." and then an awful whack.
I planted on my child's behind for teasing little Mack.
Coming to the checkout brought me such good cheer.
For the end of Christmas shopping was so near.
But there amid much standing my anger then arose.
When the cashier tried  her register to close.
Scheming, I told her my mother was quite sick,
And would be worse if I did not get home ... quick!
Now  on the car radio I heard a golden voice,
Soothing, deep,and far above earthly noise.
It  said there were vast worlds without money;
Galaxies without stores, where cash is funny.
For in heaven there's only one gift we can give
To the living God,with the saints who there live.
It is that which is made in the most secret parts
Gifts formed and created deep in our hearts!
When the radio crackled and returned to the noise.
I turned us round to return the junk and the toys -
The Mega Rangers, and 'lectric shaver that beeps.
Ties and coats, a VCR and remote control jeeps.
The Sabre saw, Old Spice cologne, and cordless fan.
And said, "Kids,gifts this year we'll make by hand!"
     Written after a day Christmas shopping.

                   --by Pastor Jim Butler
Christmas 1993 while Senior Pastor of
The Community Church of Buckeye

The story behind the blue robe … While serving as Senior Pastor of the Community Church of Buckeye (circa 1992), I learned of the unexpected passing of a United Methodist pastor in Sun City. His wife posted a notice that her husband’s clergy robes were free to a minister who needed them. She gave me a white and a blue one pictured. To this day I am grateful for the gift from  her and her  late husband.

My family and I lived in five church parsonages over the years – two of which were situated right next to the church. One benefit of The Community Church of Buckeye was the cement floor of the Fellowship Hall, which became the impromptu rollerblading arena for me and my two young sons, Steve and Scotty! We would roller-blade from the back of the parsonage into the hall!