Sometimes Christmas

Joy to the World, the Lord has Come. Let Earth receive her King.

Christmastime 2009, I met New Shoes, a homeless man seated in an old wheelchair parked on East Washington Street. We met by chance while helping to serve meals to hungry, homeless and disenfranchized people in the city. New Shoes had no apparent place to live. Preserving his dignity meant I would not be able to confirm this. However, without doubt, it was cold outside and he was hungry. He was an iconic image of poverty and there I was standing right in front of him with the resources to help. And I did and in doing so, I was forever changed.

Sometimes Christmas can serve as a reminder of how blessed we are as a nation. While fighting two wars in two separate countries with American troops stationed abroad, we don’t feel the pressure to end the wars and get back to normal life. The troops often become invisible to all but those who love and care for them, carrying them in their hearts back home. This may very well be normal and what we do with our blessings becomes the stuff that makes up life.

So at Christmas time, all over the world, we listen to the stories of men and women who give and sacrifice so others have a better life, a better experience. At some point, the stories sound somewhat contrived and hokey, unreal and trite. But deep down in the heart of the subject (or the teller) you will find a nugget of truth: Christmas is a time to touch the lives of others let others touch our lives.

My encouragement to the world, on the universal day of joy and salvation, is to forget about Santa and reindeer, wrapping paper and one-day sales at Macy’s, Frosty and Scrooge, and focus on Christ and what his appearance here on earth really means.

It means that we are saved. It means that we are loved.

I’m looking forward to seeing New Shoes again this year.

Grace and Peace to you and yours.

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