Warm Love

Shirley was a timid child,
Such a ragged little waif.
She hung around the mission
Because that’s where she felt safe.

Her parents let her wander,
They just didn’t seem to care.
As long as they could claim her
When they went to draw welfare.

She lived in Old Shantytown,
Just a bunch of makeshift shacks
Built out of crates and boxes,
Over by the railroad tracks.

She had a ragged dolly
That she carried everywhere;
Dolly was her constant friend
And she treated her with care.

It was the Christmas season,
The mission decorated
With the life-size manger scene,
Its members had created.

The days and nights were frigid,
When just breathing hurt your nose,
The mission struggled daily
To furnish warm coats and clothes.

Their new manger scene drew crowds,
It became a source of pride.
Passersby stopped to leave gifts
In a box that was supplied.

That’s why the pastor wondered,
Who would desecrate the scene?
To put that thing with Jesus,
Why would someone be so mean?

Then he recognized the doll
That was in the baby’s crib.
How could such a timid girl
Treat the manger scene so glib?

When he found the little girl
In the mission, keeping warm.
He asked about the manger,
She said she had meant no harm.

“I had no gift for Jesus
Like the wise men did of old
But I knew so very well
That the baby must be cold.”

“So if the little baby
Can be Jesus, don’t you see?
I thought it would be okay,
For my dolly to be me.”

“My gift to Baby Jesus
Is just me, to keep him warm.
I’m lying close beside him
And his head is on my arm.”

“I no longer need my doll
Because Jesus is my friend
We’ll always be together,
We’ll be friends until the end.”

Then the pastor hurried back
And put Dolly back in place.
You could tell he had been touched,
By the teardrops on his face.

If you see a manger scene
Way up north, where it is cold.
You may just find two babies,
At least that’s what I’ve been told.

I wrote this poem several years ago so I no longer remember whether I heard the story from someone or if I made it up. Like in my poem, Baby Jesus, the preacher was too quick to pass judgment. The little girl was raised in the same type of surroundings that Jesus was born into. She had experienced cold and was willing to give her most treasured possession to Baby Jesus to keep him warm. The little girl’s doll, like the widow’s mite, was all that she had to offer.


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