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The Day I Leapt for Someone Else

This beautiful poem by my friend Kurt Strassner displays the wonder and joy of the times surrounding Christ's birth -- but even more, the powerful reminder that it ought to be: "More of Jesus... less of me!"

The Day I Leapt for Someone Else

Marveling at the humility and Christward focus of John the Baptist in John 1 and 3, and pondering what went into the making of such a man.

When I was just a tiny ladI’d crouch down on my knees with dadLeaned back, with age, upon his bed,Three pillows stacked beneath his head.He’d whisper stories of our faith,But often pause to catch his breath.Time had conspired to take its toll.He’d withered like an ancient scrollSo full of truth, and yet so frail –Long pauses between every tale.He’d nap sometimes and I would waitAn hour to learn of David’s fateAfter he’d sinned; or what came nextWhen Job was by his friends perplexed.He’d tell of Moses in the sands,The bread, the quail, the Promised Land;Of Jonah and God’s mighty gale;Of Sis’ra’s head, and Jael’s nail.But he was tired; his lungs were weak;The color faded from his cheeks.And so he spoke with head laid back,Eyes often closed, and muscles slack –Except … Except for now and thenHe’d say to mom, “Remember whenThe angel came?” Eyes open wideNow he would raise up on one side.With grimaced face and teeth clinched tightHe’d slowly push himself upright.This story was too full of graceTo tell it from his normal place.“Remember when the angel came?Son, he’s the one who chose your name.God really did, I guess I’d say.I remember like yesterday.He spoke of you – your mission great;And how we’d have a baby late.But most of all He spoke of HimWho’d come and save us from our sin!”And so he’d give us his report,But mom would always stop him short –You know how older couples do –She wanted in the story, too!So she would rise up from her chair,And her side of the story share:“As I recall, now, six months passed.Your aunt came by. She talked so fastI had to calm and slow her down.And angel’d come to her home town,To her, in fact – she grinned so wide –‘Before’ she said, ‘I’m made a bride,I’ll give birth to God’s very Son.Messiah! The Anointed One!’And do you know what happened then?”Mom always asked. “You leapt withinMy womb, dear son. I don’t know howYou knew.” And then she’d always bowAnd thank the Lord for giving bothA Son and Savior, by His oath.She’s right. Somehow I always knewThat, though among the chosen few,And though a preacher of God’s wordWhose voice is by the thousands heard,“I’m not the Christ; I am not He.”So let my voice drown in the seaOf waves that crash upon His shore;Of Christward praise forever more.I publish this from east to west:"He must increase, I must be less."I guess I always knew these things.I leapt before I knew to sing.The Spirit came, and from the womb,In my small heart prepared Him room.But it sure helped, as days went by,To have a dad whose lips were dry,Whose heart was weak, whose eyes were tired …But who, for Christ, became inspired.It helped, that twinkle in his eye,And how he’d push and pull and tryTo sit up straight and tell it right,When speaking of that holy night;When speaking of God’s only son,Before whose path I was to run.It helped that mother’s fav’rite partWas not how Johnny won her heart;Was not her infertility,Was not the miracle of me!Instead, the part she always tells?The day I leapt for someone else!So moms and dads, your kids adore …But let them know you love Christ more!Train them to like the Baptist be:“More of Jesus … less of me!”