Thursday, December 18, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Well, it’s almost Christmas again. Man, where does the time go?

Living in Houston makes for interesting Christmas weather. It changes every day from drastic ( at least to us ) cold to the mid-seventies. As I write this, it’s a balmy 76 outside on this, the 18th of December 2008.

Early this week, I was driving to the airport in Tulsa, OK to fly home. On concert day, Sunday, the temp was 75 and by concert time it was 20! Driving to the airport was a delicate skate across interstate ice with a temp of 16. I mean, almost 60 degrees in 24 hours.

Oh well, it keeps it interesting.

But the sights and sounds of Christmas are everywhere and I love it.

We were out to dinner with some friends the other night. As we were about to leave, in came a distinguished looking group of mature gentlemen. Some had to be in their 80s and there were a couple of kids that were probably new to the group – the “kids” were probably 50 or so. It was an unusual sight and they looked as if this restaurant were a frequent stop.

I couldn’t help but wonder what drew them together at this particular time and place. I mean, they looked as if they had just come from a high level board meeting or something. Coats and ties with that board member air about them.

In a few minutes, we heard singing. I looked around to find the source of this impromptu Christmas carol and was surprised to see it was coming from the table full of old, merry gentlemen. God rest ‘em. And it wasn’t just some made up, spur of the moment arrangement of a familiar carol. It was a real, rehearsed piece that, I could tell, they’d done before – maybe many times before.

I asked the waiter “So, what’s the story with those guys”? He said they were regulars – some sort of singing group. He didn’t know where they sang or where they come from.

Before we left, they had burst into song three or four times to the delight of families and other diners. They good-naturedly pointed their crooked fingers at a little boy while they belted out “…he sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake”. Smiles and warm hearts all around.

Whether you’re warm or freezing right now, Christmas is sweet. I hope it is for you.

Some find Christmas troublesome and disturbing. It is not a season of tender memories but rather sorrows, disappointments, and sadness. Some of you can’t wait for it to be over. I know that feeling.

But I’ll go to my regular reminder to be thankful for something this Christmas. Find something for which to say “thank you”. It’ll help.

I think most people would like to keep baby Jesus right there in that manger. Snug in his little swaddling clothes (whatever they are) and all tucked in where he can’t cause any trouble. Because, let’s face it, Baby Jesus isn’t much of a threat. To some degree, I can control the Baby.

But that’s denying the innate power He was born with. The trappings of a infant body wouldn’t really do much to prohibit an exhibition of the power of God. I guess it just puts us at ease and lets us get used to the idea – God with us.

The baby in the manger doesn’t hold sin over me. He can’t speak so he can’t call me to obey and walk holy. What a sweet baby. We like the baby.

If it could only be Christmas all year long.

If he could just stay a baby I could do whatever I like. You could too.

But the baby grew to be a man. And in walking this planet with us, saw how we lived first hand, was tempted as we are yet without failure, loved his enemies, cared for the sick and poor and helpless, called sin what it is, spoke only truth but spoke it in love even if it sounded harsh to the ears of the hearer – died for the sins of the earth – reconciled us to God the Father.

What a beautiful Christmas it would be for you and yours to all acknowledge that Gift. The Gift that came wrapped as innocence and helplessness but was really all the power of the universe in one Man.

The Son of God became the Son of Man so that the sons of men could become the children of God. *

Bless you all. I hope to see and meet many more of you out there on the road in 2009! Have a wonderful Christmas!


*I would give proper acknowledgement to the author of this quote if I knew it.