Acts 16:31 (NIV)
They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”
"Do you think we can save him?" The young boy asked.
"I don't know. He's in bad shape. I don't believe we can," another boy added.
"You've got to believe. We need him. He's important you know," the youngest child said. "He's the Christmas Snowman."
"It'll take some work, but we can do it," the first child replied.
Just a few days before they had worked for hours creating the perfect Christmas snowman. It was a town tradition to have one there in the park for the big day. Warmer temperatures, a little rain and wind had sadly carved away some of the finer points of this work of art. His hat was missing, only one eye remained and his carrot nose apparently made for a tasty lunch for some hungry rabbits.
"But there isn't much snow to work with," another child added.
Much of the snow nearby had melted.
"Look over there, Old man Jeffries yard has plenty of snow. The sun doesn't shine over there," the first child.
"I'm not going there. He's mean."
"Then we'll never get it done!"
The three boys sat quietly on a nearby bench just a few feet away from the snowman.
Suddenly the youngest boy spoke up. "I'll go ask him. I'll go see Old man Jeffries. He can't be that mean!"
The older boys were amazed at his bravery. "Are you sure you want to do this?"
"Maybe he'll lock you up and you'll miss Christmas," one boy said.
"Oh, go on. It's just snow. What's he going to do with it, anyway?" The youngest replied.
The two boys stayed on the bench and watched as the youngest cut through the trees that separated the park from the man's yard.
The child walked up on the porch and knocked on the door.
In what seemed like an eternity, the old man finally came to the door.
The brave boy's friends jumped to their feet in anticipation. Not so much ready to run to his aid, but ready to run away screaming in fear. There was really nothing to fear at all. The stories of the old man were local tales made up in the minds of children with more imagination than sense.
The door closed and the young boy ran toward his friends.
"Is he coming after us?" One child yelled.
"No, he's coming to help us," the child replied.
"He went to get his coat and a wheel barrel. He has two shovels and will meet us outside in a minute."
The youngest boy ran back to the house while the other two walked slowly, cautiously toward him.
"Come on, you slow pokes," the old man yelled. "We've got some snow man building to do."
One by one they loaded the wheel barrel with as much snow as they could handle. Mr. Jeffries gathered a few pieces of coal for the eyes, a new carrot and an old hat he had in the closet.
"I never thought...well...it's just that I thought you were mean," the oldest boy said.
Mr. Jeffries just laughed at him.
"Why did you want to help us?" The other one asked.
"I have lived in that small house for many years and I have enjoyed watching the neighborhood children build a snowman in this exact spot each year just before Christmas. It's a tradition, you know. I was worried about him this year, too. I watched him crumbling and melting away the last few days. I knew he had to make it for Christmas. I would sneak out late at night each year and keep the other snowmen in shape. No one ever knew it. I'm not supposed to be doing things like this. They tell me I'm too old, but if you didn't fix the snowman I would have tried by myself," he said.
"Well, we did it together," the youngest said.
The four of them stood proudly in front the newest and biggest snowman that town had ever seen.
"Excellent!" Mr. Jeffries said.
"Excellent!" The boys all said in agreement.
"Well, I better get home," one boy said.
"Me too," added another.
"It is Christmas Eve. You better get ready for Santa," Mr. Jeffries added.
Then waving goodbye they all went their separate ways.
In the early afternoon on Christmas Day, the youngest boy headed for the park to meet his friends.
He had a brand new sled and a brand new friend he wanted to share it with. Old man Jeffries.
As he approached the park he could hear sirens. His friends were standing on Mr. Jeffries front porch.
"What's wrong?" The youngest yelled.
"It's old man Jeffries...he needs help!"
"Look out. Clear the way!" The medic screamed.
The three boys stood just outside the door.
"Is he okay?" The young boy asked. "Is he okay?"
There was an odd silence in the room. Mr. Jeffries, barely responding, turned his head toward the boy and smiled.
"I made it till Christmas...just like the snowman," he whispered.
"Do you think we can save him?" One man asked.
"I don't know. He's in bad shape. I don't believe we can."
"You've got to believe. We need him. He's important you know," the young boy said crying.
"He saved the Christmas snowman," he added.
They rushed him away in the ambulance.
It wasn't until later that day that they got the word. Mr. Jeffries had died.
But, there is a magic in Christmas unlike any other day.
It has been twenty five years since that day and until this very Christmas it is an annual event, a competition of sorts, to build the best Christmas Snowman in what has officially become "Old Jeffries Park."
You see, that young boy grew up to be the Mayor.
Ask him how and he'll reply, "You've got to believe!"
As we wind down to the end of the year what is it that you believe in?
Dear Lord. Help us believe in You. Help us share that believe with those that You bring into our path. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.