I address this note to those of you who find “The Christmas Shoes” too depressing. If you are just tired of hearing it because it’s overplayed, I understand that, but to paraphrase Alton Brown, that’s another note.
I can understand why you may feel the song is depressing, the core story surrounding the song is about a little boy about to lose his mother. It sounds like a hopeless situation. But if you really think about the song, and you look at it apart from that, it’s about hope in desperate times.
Sir, I want to buy these shoes for my Mama, please
It's Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size
Could you hurry, sir, Daddy says there's not much time
You see she's been sick for quite a while
And I know these shoes would make her smile
And I want her to look beautiful if Mama meets Jesus tonight
Look at the words of the little boy. He’s not showing fear or sadness for the coming loss of his mother, he’s expressing joy and excitement at his mom’s pending meeting with Jesus. He is looking at what is to come through the eyes of eternity, not through the eyes of the here and now. That we all could approach the thought of death in the same manner.
It also shows how we can reach out and touch the world with our faith in the littlest things we do. This boy wasn’t thinking about being a witness to anyone, he just wanted to help his mama look more beautiful when she met their savior, but in doing so, he touched the man telling the story:
So I laid the money down, I just had to help him out
I'll never forget the look on his face when he said
Mama's gonna look so great
I knew I'd caught a glimpse of heaven's love
As he thanked me and ran out
I knew that God had sent that little boy
To remind me just what Christmas is all about
What is it that the man in the song learned about Christmas? What is the true meaning of Christmas?
“For unto you is born this day in the City of David a savior, Christ the Lord”. In the midst of hopelessness, there is hope. This world is not the end of the journey, it’s the start of it. There is much more to come.
“The Christmas Shoes” is not a song about loss, but rather it is a song about light in the darkest night, hope in hopeless times, and joy in times of sorrow. If you look closer at the story, you’ll learn what Christmas is All About.