December 23, 2010
Merry Christmas: The Holiday of the Divine Surprise
Greetings, Goomba denizens. Here's hoping you and yours make time to enjoy this holiday season. Congress has gone home now. Can a brother get an "Amen?!!?"
One of the reasons I have always loved Christmas is that is requires the world -- believers and unbelievers alike -- to stop for a moment and acknowledge the Babe of Bethlehem. It's a day when most of us seem to know the courteous and respectful thing to do. And -- unless we're the NBA that goes about business as usual -- we all pause, yes, some of us even seem to rise out of respect as Jesus enters the room to get some of His due.
Whether Christian or not, we sense there's a magic to this time of year. The winter snow, the lights, the old songs that endure, the people we love, the longing for tradition and the glue that makes life worth living ... all draw us to Christmas. We instinctively know that something real is here, something that transcends the traffic, the hurrying, and the presents.
The Christmas Story is far better than fiction. I mean, if you break it down, the birth of the Savior under the circumstances documented in the Bible was one of the most scandalous and improbable events of history. Indeed, Jesus's whole life and ministry was like that, the most riveting page-turner of all time. The account of all of this in and of itself bespeaks of divine authorship.
It seems God loves to surprise. With the capability of thunder, He speaks in a whisper. Though he can win in a rout, He loves to come from behind at the last moment. As the inventor of hope, He delights in restoring it when all seems lost. As a King and Ruler, He appears as a lowly babe ... a carpenter, and a servant. No wonder so many missed Him.
Yes, I believe God has a sense of humor and surprise ... and irony ... and plot ... and real purpose. You know, I even think He makes appearances at shopping malls. I mean, if He can land in a manger, all things are possible.
If you have seen the following video, well, take another look and listen. If you have yet to see it, enjoy it and remember that the God of the Universe came on Christmas to our lonely and desolated beachhead here ... at the most improbable time and under the most impossible of circumstances ... on the greatest mission of all time. And, well, the end of the book is even better.
A now, a final word this Christmas ...
Wherever you are tonight, no matter the circumstance or the darkness of the night ... Christmas means there is hope. Your mind may try to rationalize this beautiful truth away, but let it roll over you instead. Christ parachuted into this mess when a solution seemed a galaxy away.
It -- rather He -- was right there before our eyes in swaddling cloths.
What a pleasant surprise indeed.
Merry Christmas and God bless you all.