After months of anticipation in every mall and on every radio station, the 25th is already over.
I was too lazy to put a tree up this year. Partly because ours is one of those multi-piece models squirreled away in a basement closet. Maybe Aleisha and I lost some holiday magic in not doing it, but I just didn’t have the energy to dig it out from under other stuff. I keep wondering if I should feel guilty over it, but then I remember how all the rest of you have to take yours down now, and I don’t feel so bad.
Actually there was a time many years ago when I had religious objections about trees and elves and such, but I’ve downsized in terms of what I want to make noise over. Some things don’t deserve the time it takes to be against them. Better to keep my attention on the great particulars of faith and eternity—you know, things worth fighting for.
And family. As of right now, I’m blessed to have both mom and dad still here on this earth, as well as my siblings. But I can’t see them as often as I’d like. Many years ago the tough love of Jesus took me out of the south and placed me in the capital of Ohio, next to the largest university in the United States. Since then, Ohio has been a foreign mission field for me.
Still, a boy needs to sneak away every now and then and see the people who knew him when. I’ll be making that trip shortly in my trusty Toyota, whose saddle bags have been stocked with Red Bull and Reese’s.
Then there’s the other family—my church—the folks I see multiple times every week. Even there I’m not so much “Pastor” as I am plain old John, which suits me fine. Titles and such seem to ruin the small church vibe.
I spent Christmas Eve with this faith family. It wasn’t by candlelight, but by catered barbecue. As we ate, talked, and played games, I thought it ironic that even the pulled pork and all those sides and desserts would not have been enough to gather us that night. It takes more than brisket to bring people together with little shared culture, or DNA—folks from Africa and China, from central Louisiana, and the suburbs of Cleveland.
It takes a miracle of the Bethlehem variety.