A few years ago, just before Christmas, Dee Dee and I had the honor of sharing a table at a fundraiser for the Beaver Creek Religious Foundation with Steve Fossett and his wife. Price of admission for Dee Dee and I: praying the blessing for the meal.
I had recently read “The Spirit of St. Louis,” Charles Lindbergh’s account detailing his 1927 solo, non-stop flight across the Atlantic. Fossett had recently completed his own record-breaking, solo, unmotorized balloon circumnavigation of the globe. It was an invitation of a lifetime. I was champing at the bit to hear his story. Fossett was only too willing to comply.
Finally, near the end of the dinner, Fossett came in for a landing and I asked, “Did you encounter God in any way while you were up there alone?”
Fossett’s face went blank. He stammered something about the flight being just a record for him. Like the many Boy Scout badges he had earned in younger years. I was embarrassed to have asked and disappointed in how un-romantically he viewed his accomplishment.
On the night Jesus was born the angels came to a group of shepherds with an invitation of a lifetime. “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you, he is Christ [the One you have been waiting for] the Lord. . . . You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
What? A baby in a horse trough? What’s so great about that? I wonder if they experienced similar disappointment to mine? The Messiah was foretold to be the ultimate king, born of David, Israel’s greatest king. The solution to all their problems. They were soon to learn Jesus was much more than their expectations.
And so it is. Somehow God mingles our meager Christmas expectations with much greater heaven-hope. In “The Weight of Glory” C. S. Lewis wrote, “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
Christmas is so much more than ribbons, bows, eggnog, Santa, and mistletoe. It’s an open, down-to-earth invitation of a lifetime. What will we settle for this Christmas? A tie and slippers? While God sings, Come celebrate, experience, worship Immanuel, I Am with you.
May this Christmas be nothing you ever hoped or imagined.
7 thoughts on “When Christmas Reality Exceeds Your Christmas Expectaions”
I like to be “ahead of the curve” when it comes to celebrating/enjoying Christmas and looking for “special meaning and significance” in life’s somewhat unpredictable circumstances,… I believe we get a supernatural visitation of angelic aid to lift and inspire us in our plans during this time,… Sometimes, even often, it is actually almost palpable,… “something’s in the air”,… “something’s up”,…
For me, it’s a bit like trying to catch the spiritual wave, as a surfer would do with the ocean,… All I know is, that being ready and anticipating that God will be manifesting in special ways at this time, has paid back in many spiritual dividends over the years,… intangible, yes,… but transcendent and joy-filled, nonetheless,…
I also know that this effect does seem to noticeably evaporate after the season of Christmas rejoicing begins to close down,… and time moves on,… hopefully we have internalized enough, partaken of and savored sufficiently, that the afterglow that stays with us, will be able to reinforce our faith for months (or years) to come,…
Sometimes it will coincide happily with holiday hub-bub moments, and sometimes it will seem to be hidden away in special moments of quiet retreat and personal seeking, or shining out at us — winking at us — in the twinkle of new glistening snow,…
Somehow we will also know that it is just as delightful and as ephemeral as the moment of soon-to-be-melting snowflake perfection that catches our eye,… or as the impromptu sweet call of birdsong which breaks through a stilled silence,… Much like a sudden, gentle and affirming, angelic kiss bestowed upon us from above,…
We can only simply enjoy, and be blessed,… hanging on to this “something” — (that is in effect “nothing”), holding on to it, isn’t possible,… we need only be ready for these happy collisions of ourselves with eternity,… setting ourselves apart for encountering, and being touched by, such special moments,… these are quite possibly some of the very best gifts we’ll ever receive,…
(I’ve learned to turn a deaf ear to much of the worldly chatter at this time,… most such distractions just come and go, and aren’t worth all that much anyway,… but they do seek to upstage, or even take the place of, the precious gift of our Baby God,… “Silent Night, Holy Night,… All is calm, All is bright,…”)
Angelis kiss. I’m waiting.
Sometimes I feel very much like the half-hearted creature described by C.S. Lewis. Some days I despair of the human race, myself included. It’s easy to forget about grace when I can’t see past my fallen state. Ah, heavy words for the Thursday night before the end of the world. 🙂
On a lighter note, congrats on your non-bucket list getting published by, ironically, Lesley Carter’s Bucket List Publications!
I’m still here, Sue. How about you? 🙂 Most of us are those half-hearted creatures, day to day. God has not despaired of us, however.
Thank you very much. She is an amazing blogger.
Yup! Still here! 😉
Yesterday I spent 15 minutes with 12 k-6th graders in the clubhouse of an apartment complex for impoverished families. I shared with them the Andy Moyer story and the Gift of Life 20 years ago. They got the message, I think, Andy died and Dave, Charlie, and Joe are still alive; Dave’s son is getting married Saturday, another milestone that Dave is able to be around for after a heart transplant those many years ago.
Christmas Eve, La Nochebueno, is the the most special day of the year for our family, HUGE loss and an afternoon at Boulder Community when God tapped me on the shoulder, clearly told me that Andy was coming “Home” but that parts of him needed to stay!
One of the 3rd graders asked, “did you unplug Andy?” Pretty saavy!
John: Thank you for allowing God to redeem your loss and your life and your story. We will be praying for you on Christmas Eve.