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Naked on Christmas Day

Christmas Story By Pete Lane, On RENEW  MINISTRIES .

 

Naked. Yes, that is how Jim was when I met him on Christmas Day 1985 as he was peering over a toilet door. All he had on was a black leather hat and studded leather belt. Hot and humid as it was in Brisbane, he was not exactly dressed for Christmas dinner.

 

En route to collect someone for Christmas dinner, I’d called into the local ‘beat’ – a homosexual pick-up area – to see who was around. Jim, out ‘cruising’, was no different from many others who carry out their illegal or immoral activities every day of the year – including Christmas Day.

 

Over the years as I’ve done street work I’ve met a few naked men – sitting in their cars, hiding in car parks or wandering around other public places.

 

Nakedness in Scripture is associated with shame (after the Fall, Genesis 3:7), a disarranged mind (Legion, Mark 5:15), or spiritual poverty (the church of Laodicea, Revelation 3:17). But Jim certainly was not exhibiting any of these characteristics. He just sensually flaunted himself in front of me.

 

Now, if there is one thing we have in common with Jesus, it’s that we are all born naked. And it’s amazing how much that toilet must have resembled the stable in Bethlehem, Smell of stale urine, faeces, rubbish scattered everywhere.

 

What a place to be born. What an introduction to the world for Jesus. What an insight to a secret part of Jim’s live. In the stable and the toilet were two naked males: one a Saviour, the other in need of one.

 

 

After talking to Jim for a few moments, I realized I had shared the Gospel with with him a few years before at a homosexual disco. I used to go there each weekend as part of my outreach work into the “gay scene”.

 

Later, that night as I walked out of the disco with Jim and his lover Tony, he had got so angry with me that he had cuffed me across the face. Only Tony had been able to calm him down.

 

So we met again on Christmas Day. While not well educated, he was articulate, expressing his thoughts on his personal world value system coherently and logically.

 

Why would someone like Jim be here on Christmas Day? “Don’t you have friends, family or a lover to spend the day with?” I asked. “I mean, everyone spends time with someone on Christmas Day.”

 

“Christmas Day means nothing to me”, Jim shouted. “Christians are a bunch of hypocrites.”

 

Jim seemed to epitomize the emptiness and loneliness of Christmas for so many people: their disillusionment with Christianity and their stark nakedness without a Saviour.

 

Yet that toilet on Christmas Day, with all the disease, despair and desire it represented, seemed to have more meaning for Jim than the stable that spoke of life, hope and healing.

 

Such is the spiritual poverty of some Christians that being born naked is about the only thing they have in common with Jesus. If we as Christians live out the meaning of the stable, with all the sacrifice, obedience, servant hood and humility it expressed, perhaps Christianity would not be so anathema to the Jim's of this world.

 

Jim declined my offer to join my family and other friends for Christmas dinner. “No, I wouldn’t fit in. I’ll hang around here.” I never saw him again.

 

In June 1990, while doing some street work at a homosexual beat, I met a man who amazingly turned out to be Tony, Jim’s lover.

“ How was Jim? ‘ I asked

 

While Tony, who had a severe speech impediment, stuttered and stammered, his tears flowed freely . . . “Dead. Died three years ago. Found in a toilet with bruises on his head. Police don’t know how he died. He was naked.”

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