Many of us who knew Tim knew he was quite the poet. But for others, well, maybe they didn’t know. Tim loved the Christmas season. He loved the lights, the music, the decorations, the fellowship . . . but most of all, he loved Jesus, the One whose birth and life we celebrate.
I went out to dinner with Tim on a Tuesday night a few weeks ago. As we ate, I watched him. He looked weak. His hand shook as he brought his fork to his lips. His body shuddered as he walked through the cold to his car. He said, as we ate, “I’m not going to put up my Christmas lights this year.”
“What are you talking about? Of course you are. Why wouldn’t you?”
“If I go downhill as fast in the coming month as I have the previous month, I won’t be able to take them down.”
I reminded Tim of the story he once told me about his dad–how he worked in the fields until the end. And about how he (Tim) wanted to do the same. Live until the end. “You’re going to put up your lights,” I told him. “I’ll be there tomorrow after work.”
After work, I headed to Tim’s and we got busy. The kids ran around, watching in awe as Tim climbed up on his roof and wrangled a large star of lights (that he had made) into place. I offered to do it for him, but he wanted to do it himself. After we finished, he thanked me. He said how much better he felt when he stayed busy, but that he was so fatigued that it was just hard to get motivated. We stood around for a bit and surveyed the lights. We didn’t say much. I loaded up the kids and drove away as he headed in to prepare to minister to his Wednesday night group who would be there in a couple hours.
That was the last time I ever talked to Tim.
I’m glad that he lived until the end. I’m glad he got to enjoy his Christmas lights. But most of all, I’m glad for the gift that God gave me in Tim. He was the greatest man I have ever had the privilege of knowing.
Enjoy Tim’s Christmas poems.
The Christmas Story
What Christmas Means to Me