Many thanks to my friend and dear "soulmate" Cheri Bunch of Seven Branches for today's heartwarming post.
Mr. Baity's Gift
Mr. Baity took my little hand and led me back up the ramp, "Let's do it one more time." I didn't really need to. I had been over to the church every day to practice since the day he had asked me to be the Christmas angel several weeks before, but I happily skipped my way to the top for another run through. I was six years old and was in need of extra loving care. Our pastor, Mr. Baity, knew it so he asked me to be the most important angel in the program, the only one that got to talk, the only little person in the whole pageant.
My little brother had been in a near fatal car accident that year. The hospital had discharged him telling my parents that he would not live and that he could spend his final days at home.
I will never forget the day we drove in our driveway with my four-year-old brother in the front seat on my mother's lap (no car seats in those days). It looked as if the whole town was standing in our front yard. We were surrounded by prayer warriors. Mr. and Mrs. Baity were there.
My little brother, my only sibling could no longer talk, walk, he was infant like in a four year old body. Mr. Baity believed that Chris would live, walk, talk, and be a normal little boy again. So he built exercise contraptions for Chris to do physical therapy on. Then he appointed teams to come and help with the exercises every day.
Chris needed a lot of attention. He had to have it. It saved his life. The amazing thing about Mr. Baity, I realize now, was that he not only had the wisdom to build the things that Chris needed to make him better, he was intuitive about a little girl being forced into the shadows. That is how I got to be the Christmas angel that year.
We lived right across the street from the church, the parsonage was right next door on the other side of the church so he and I would meet in the middle every day to practice my waltz down through the cloudy plank so that I could announce to the sleepy shepherds that Jesus had been born. I can still see the twinkle in Mr. Baity's blue eyes as he would ask me to practice one more time.
I saw Mr. Baity years later when I was a young adult and I asked him if he remembered his thoughtful kindness to me. I was sad when he said that he did not remember our many practices with me descending down the ramp that he had made. I will always treasure the time he set aside for me.
The greatest gift I received that Christmas when I was six years old, was not something I could hold in my hand, rather it was the gift of one's self. Mr. Baity gave me his time and attention. He let me do something special. He let me deliver some good news when there was so much trouble in our world at home. I quoted the verses that began with "Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, and goodwill to men" practicing it over and over and over. I have to believe that those powerful words were a much needed deposit into my little spirit.
Mr. Baity was so much like Jesus. Jesus came to give us Himself, so that we might be able to hear, say, and deliver words of hope to others like, "Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, and goodwill to men".
Mr. Baity gave me an eternal gift that year. I will take the affects of it to heaven with me. At this time of giving special gifts, I want to include some gifts that are of eternal nature. I am praying that I will have a sensitive spirit so that I can deposit such a gift this Christmas. It will take more time than money and hopefully affect someone forever.
" ... Unto us a Son is given ..." Isaiah 9:6