Christmas Shoes

Dec 8th 2017

Sometimes there is a song or book or movie that comes along that has a deeper personal meaning then you ever expect. In this case the one in question is all three. But it started with the song. The one particular song I am talking about deals with the Christmas season. This song was released in 2000 and is called “The Christmas Shoes” and is by a group called Newsong. In the notes of the CD Album, this song is on by Newsong, it talks about the hope of “The Christmas Shoes” – ‘ The poignant story of a young boy giving his dying mother a final gift of love touches hearts everytime the song “The Christmas Shoes” is heard. This seemingly sad song is actually a song of hope. Though the boy knew he would soon be separated from his mother, she assured him that her destiny was secure because she had accepted God’s gift of eternal life through a relationship with His Son Jesus Christ.

The reason this song strikes a cord in my heart as well as my mothers, is on Nov 15th 2001 my Grandma Smith passed away of cancer. This was my mom’s mom. The relationship my mother had with her mom and I had with my grandma was very close and very special. I can remember a lot of good times with my grandma. I am very proud of the time I spent with her in her life and have no regrets. Even when she was sick I was there. My mom and her sister took time off work and stayed with grandma to fulfil her wish to die at home. It was a hard road for my mom and aunt but they fulfilled my grandma’s wish. The Christmas after she died this song “the Christmas Shoes” really hit my mother and I with very big impact in relating to the son buying shoes for his dying mother. Still to this day this song is very special to both of us.

The song “The Christmas Shoes” became a number one hit, and in 2002 the book “The Christmas Shoes” by Donna Vanliere was released based on the song. Also in 2002 a movie was released based on the song and book. It featured Rob Lowe and Kimberly Williams and was about a workaholic Attorney who crosses paths with a young boy on Christmas Eve and rediscovers the true meaning of love, life and the holiday season.

The theme and story line of the song is from the narrator’s point of view, who is standing in a checkout line with some last-minute shopping on Christmas Eve, but is not feeling the holiday spirit. The customer in front of him is a little boy dressed in wornout clothes whose only item is a pair of women’s shoes. The boy tells the cashier that he wishes to buy the shoes for his ill mother so that she may look her best when she meets Jesus later that night, as she is dying of cancer. The cashier informs the boy that he does not have enough money to buy the shoes, which prompts the boy to ask the narrator for help saying that although his family is poor, his mother always did her best to make Christmas special for her family. The narrator pays for the shoes, and as the boy thanks him and walks away, the narrator realizes that the little boy helped him understand the true meaning of Christmas. The last verse ends with the narrator saying “I knew I caught a glimpse of heaven’s love as he thanked me and ran out. I knew God had sent that little boy my way, to remind me what Christmas is all about.” If we’re open to it, God can use even the smallest thing to change our lives and to possibly change us.  We can go through life missing the small miracles that happen throughout our daily lives. Small blessings that God has send to us that make us smile, laugh or to break our hearts, and gently nudge us closer to Him.

The Christmas Shoes and what the shoes and the song stand for, have a deep meaning to me. So much so that when I was preparing in 2008 to mount my original version of “Meaning of Christmas”, I wanted to find a pair of red “Christmas shoes” to put on set as a tribute to my Grandma Smith. In the end due to time restraints and not being able to find what I felt was the perfect pair the shoes never made it on set. It is one of the regrets I have about that production. When the opportunity came up to remount “Meaning of Christmas” in 2010, I promised myself not to miss this opportunity. While shoe shopping mom and I found a perfect pair. They were a pair that even mom said in her day Grandma would have wore. I was sold. I had to buy those shoes. So I did and for all the shows of the remount of the play those shoes sat on set. Nothing was every said in the play about them but they sat on set in plan view as my tribute to a wonderful woman, wife, mother and grandmother who no matter what always made Christmas special for her family. It is through her to my mother who showed me what real family is. Family is there for you in the good times and the bad. Enjoying your highs and supporting your lows.  These two special women who have been a part of my life have also shown me what the true spirit of Christmas is. Love and giving. For through our giving and love at Christmas time to those around us we are paying tribute and giving thanks for  the most precious gift that humanity has ever received. Jesus Christ, our Lord, our Saviour, our Immanuel, God with us: “For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only son” (John 3:176  Christmas Celebrates God’s gift to each one of us.

Matthew R. Marshall