Looking into the faces of the people I see at Wal-mart and at the mall.
Some faces are hard and cold. I don't see any joy or peace. I pray for those faces that they might run into this Jesus who has changed my life. I wish not to give false hope in telling anyone about my Jesus. He isn't a handy-dandy fix man who can undo all the damage I've done in my life. He is a Savior that can transform and produce a new way of seeing life.......a new way of doing business with the world. He can take my past and reform it in such a way that the memories do not bring up guilt and shame.
Some faces I see radiate with the glow of God's Spirit. They may be about the business of buying presents for family and friends, but you see Jesus in them. Soft smiles and eyes that are filled with love. Even the very timbre of their voice can soften the hardest of hearts they meet with a "Merry Christmas".
Breakfast with my good friend, Jim Bentley atJacks with coffee and conversation. Catching up on the week. Looking back at our past, wondering how we got to where we are. Appreciative of God's hand upon our lives and for the memories we share. Some good...some not so good......but none the less a part of our friendship. I have known Jim since the fall of 1968. We have a lot of shared history. He is my best-est friend. I also have another breakfast appointment with Wayne Wimpee and Barry Hooks, my partners in crime (so to speak). Actually the only crime committed is Wayne leaving the onions off his sausage melt sandwich.
Revisiting Luke Chapter 2.
Trying to place myself in Joseph's shoes. What would I have done? Would I have been a man of integrity like Joseph? Or would I have fallen prey to the easy way out? I get angry when movies and television shows try and "Hollywood-ize" the Christmas story. This was a serious thing to be a young girl having a baby outside of marriage. It wasn't a story of warm cozy feelings and soft lights that seem to permeate and cast just the right shadows over the stable. It was a time of a king who was drunk with power and would do anything to hold on to it. Even ordering the killing of small children. In the midst of all the political intrigue and the religious fervor.......there stood Joseph whose primary concern was for his wife and for the baby that was to be born.
Josh and Heather will be coming in from Athens, Georgia on Christmas day. Chad, Robin and the grand kids, Tyler and Ashley, will be coming from Southside Christmas afternoon. My wife, Vicki, will spend the morning in our kitchen working the cooking magic she does so well and spread out a meal that would rival the finest chef's found anywhere in the world. We will gather around that table and share more than a meal. We will share our love and laughter. We will share memories. We will be together. To me that is the greatest present a person can receive......family.
I saved this one for last.
The story of the birth of Jesus.
It looked nothing like we portray it in our Christmas cards or plays at church. It was, to me, a pinpoint of light in a time of great darkness. The only fanfare was when the message was delivered to a group of shepherds, not in royal courts of kings and queens. It was in a stinky, smelly stable that reeked of urine and dung that Mary gave birth to God in flesh.
It is the defining moment in the history of the world, when God stepped out of heaven and took on the form and flesh of mankind. He invaded our time and space with a purpose. To take the next step in his plan to right the terrible wrong that took place in the garden when mankind fell from grace into a world of sin. To me Christmas is victory! Christmas is a joyous shout of triumph, and with each Christmas, we draw nearer and nearer to the ultimate finality....Christ return. Would ever a song be so true as to be present at that return and sing.
Let earth receive her King!!!!