Out on Bittersweet tonight there is a light dust of snow on the ground an it is cold outside. Lois is listening to the news and weather and pouring candles and intermittently singing. I love it when she is happy. It warms the whole house. I’m up in the corner of my cozy room in a circle of warm light writing to you, whoever you are. The drive home from the church study was beautiful tonight. I took the back roads and watched the sun poking through the silver clouds. The rest of the world has turned gray. Today it was dusted with powdery white, a muted beauty. I enjoyed the warmth of my truck and some Christmas music as I made my way out to Bittersweet and supper.
Do you have a moment every December when the “Christmas Feeling” arrives? I have a simple Christmas story for you today. I hope it warms your heart.
…And Christmas Came
It’s early December. I’m sitting in my favorite window nursing a good black coffee and looking out on my truck through the early morning snow. Sometimes the ambient noise of a small-town restaurant lends itself to the concentration needed to write. I’m working on a Christmas sermon.
I know of a pastor who was once one of the most productive writers in the nation. He summered in West Michigan because he loved to sail. I heard him say more than one that he wrote sermons and whole books sitting in a molded fiberglass booth at a Burger King restaurant in South Haven, Michigan.
So I’m writing and keeping my mind focused on my work when I pick up a bit of conversation among the workers. Most of what they had been saying all morning had been silly, empty banter but their tone changed. That captured my attention.
Someone said warmly “O, look, they’re paying for the car behind them“
“Why are they doing that,” another asked.
“You know, they are paying it forward.”
“I thought you said they are paying for the car behind them.”
“Yes, but that’s called paying it forward… You know, instead of paying it back to find someone else and do something kind for them… pay it forward.”
It was quiet for a minute while the workers just stood and watched the cars in the drive-thru lane paying it forward.
I smiled and took a sip from my seasonal cup and I looked out toward my truck. It is green. Flakes of snow drift on the cold air. Christmas music wafts out into the restaurant and right then, at about ten a.m. the Christmas spirit arrived in my soul.
I know Christmas is much, much more than the warm feeling that comes when people extend kindness to each other, but it is nothing less. God became a man to die for our sins. He would rise again and return to heaven. He is coming again to judge all mankind. It’s the stuff angels sing about and old women talk about and old men cry over and the story of Christ is so powerful that even people who don’t fully understand it are stirred to acts of good will.
I say, “God bless it. Merry Christmas.” Has it come to your heart yet? When? How?