A Christmas Poem from a Mom of Teenagers

Jesus, All You Didn’t Have to Do

Jesus, we don’t want to clean up our own messes,
Let alone our neighbors’.
Begrudgingly, we rinse our own plates,
As though doing someone a favor.

“Why should we have to empty the whole trash can,
When to its contents, we only contributed 10%?”
We grumble, we complain,
Completing the task while throwing a fit.

Jesus, we moan, and we fuss,
At the smallest responsibilities entrusted to us.

You give us a body to clothe and nourish,
That it may be used in service to you.
But we tend to primp and worship it,
Drawing people’s eyes away from the One to whom all glory is due.

Or perhaps we harm our bodies,
Cutting and starving our earthly tent.
Not for some just cause, or righteous endeavor,
Merely because we are discontent.

Jesus, it’s hard to think of you,
When I am in the way, blocking the view.

We don’t want to do the work of relationships:
Praying, speaking kindly, and bearing our cross.
We want to be served, loved, and esteemed,
By the blind who are leading the lost.

We don’t want the relational fallout,
that comes from our poison tongues.
We’d rather sow cruelty,
And reap faithful friends and lots of fun.

We don’t want to clean up our own messes,
it’s clearly the job of our mother.
But, it’s even worse,
when we have to clean up the mess of another.

And why would I pick up trash off the ground,
And throw it away?
When someone else threw it down,
Just the other day?

Jesus, you asked us to live for others,
But I can’t even love my brother.

We walk by the bratty kid at the store,
Silently judging his mom as he kicks on the floor.
We divert our eyes and quietly say,
“My kid would never behave that way.”

And why is she crying anyway?
Why is she hurt? Or distraught?
I wouldn’t react that way,
If I had been given her lot.

Jesus, I know you always listen to their prayers,
but other people’s issues are too great for me to bear.

Jesus, you didn’t have to do any of it,
And yet, you did.
You came down to earth,
And lived like a normal kid.

In Heaven, there was no mess,
But you came down to us,
and had to learn things,
and listen to us fuss.

You didn’t have to wash the dishes,
You didn’t have to clean the bathroom.
But you chose to live among us,
A people depraved and in ruin.

You didn’t have to put up with annoying siblings,
Or the bully at school.
But, Jesus, you made yourself–
Taking the form of a servant as your role.

Why, Jesus, why would you live in our mess
When you had heaven as your home?
Even more than that, why would you take our mess,
And make it your own?

Why did you feel so deeply for the lepers, widows,
And those who were alone?
When we just turn our heads, close our eyes,
and make our hearts towards them as stone?

Why did you come and labor,
Teaching those who didn’t think they needed your advice?
When we so quickly throw up our hands
And leave the stubborn to their own devices?

Jesus, we deserve the mess we make, and you did not.
You are a king, who came to live among the untaught.

So, this Christmas, I praise you for doing,
what you didn’t have to do.
For showing us grace, and dying,
so we would belong to you.

You are not only my Savior, but my example,
And so I humbly pray…
Help me do things that I don’t have to,
Each and every day.


Author: David M. Hare

Dave is a husband, father of four Africans, and is currently helping the Kwakum people do Oral Bible Storying and Bible translation in Cameroon, Africa.

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