Archive for December 25, 2008
At Christmas, I often have to think of the story about Martin the Cobbler, Where Love Is, God Is, by the great Russian writer Tolstoy. Do you know it?
One night, old Martin hears God saying to him, “Martin, Martin! Look out into the street tomorrow, for I shall come.”
The whole day, he keeps looking for Christ to visit him. But his only visitors are a poor man, whom he serves some hot tea; a woman with a baby, whom he gives food and a warm cloak; and another woman and a boy, whose quarrel he reconciles. Martin’s expectations were disappointed.
The Lord had not come.
But then, at night, God speaks to him again. “Martin, Martin, don’t you know me?” the voice says.
“Who is it?” asks Martin.
“It is I,” answers the voice, and out of the shadow steps the poor man, smiles, and vanishes.
“It is I,” says the voice again, and out of shadow steps the woman with the baby, smiles, and vanishes.
“It is I,” the voice says yet a third time, and out of the shadow steps the woman and the boy, smile, and vanish.
Christ had really come to Martin that day, and he had welcomed Him.