First Friday

th-13It’s the first Friday in December. That means our little town swings into Christmas mode tonight in a big way. At 5:00 p.m. the main street in the center of town will be blocked off and stages will be set up, tables in most of the shops will be stocked with wine, cheese, hot cocoa and other treats, and Santa’s house will be brought in for his arrival. Then, in the following couple of hours, choirs will sing, bands will play, speeches will be made, the big tree in front of Town Hall will be lit, and Santa will ride into town on a vintage 1920s fire truck and set up shop in his house, ready to meet with the children already lined up and waiting to see him.

(It was on one of these nights just a few years ago when, after seeing Santa in his house, a very young Chandler tugged on Marti’s arm and whispered, “Those are not real boots Santa’s wearing, but don’t tell Christopher and Anne; they’d be so disappointed.” Chandler has been a dead-on realist ever since.)

This scene, I’m sure, will be repeated in cities and towns across America. It’s an official beginning — the ushering in of Christmas, as if it took something official to start it, and aside from all the commercialism which undoubtedly drives it, it is an evening marked by a genuine spirit of gladness and good will. Children will be bundled up, eyes will be bright, and a season of expectations will begin.

And yet, under the surface, not all is bright and cheery. Homes are dysfunctional, families are splitting up, memories of lost loved ones will bubble up, tensions will rise as bank accounts try to meet unmeetable expectations; while on the streets many continue to go without food and shelter, with all the lights and laughter making their situation even more sad and despairing than it already is.

Into all this comes the Christ child, who, thank God, is no longer a child. And it’s my quiet issue with the tradition of Advent, which I understand, because if Christ hadn’t come …unthinkable!  So, we celebrate His coming which is all well and good, but when we all so desperately need to make use of the fact that He is already here, it makes all this “coming” stuff seem a bit superfluous. We can look forward to Santa on Christmas eve all we want, but don’t wait for Christ, and especially not a child. We need Jesus, and we need Him now, and thank God He’s available right now. Some of us need Him to get through all this waiting for Him to come!

So, this Christmastime, allow yourself to be His hands feet and heart to those who can’t wait for a Christ child.  They need love, support and a listening ear; they need to know God’s arms are wide open to them — the Gospel of Welcome — they need grace and mercy, the same as was extended to us; and many of them need a blanket, something warm to eat and a place for the night. And they need it now.

We need Him for ourselves, and our own needs, and we need Him in order to have something to give to those who need Him too. Thank God He’s already here!

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5 Responses to First Friday

  1. TimC says:

    It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,
    Rain falls everyday.

    And I’m trying to figure out how to pay rent which becomes delinquent today.
    And the phone is running over with the medical billing offices who are threatening to send more bills to collections.
    And sometimes, the celebration of the season is totally wiped out.
    There is no tree, there are no gifts.
    Fortunately, there is Jesus. Ah. He’s a whole lot better than anything.

  2. Mark Seguin says:

    Wanted to add a real big Amen to this: ” Thank God He’s already here!”
    PS I’ll be keeping you and your needs brother TimC in my thoughts & prayers – God’s speed & blessings to you…

  3. Peter Rowe says:

    Last week a contractor visited us to bid on a job. He saw my big Ham radio antenna and asked if I could talk to God on that. I said no, I don’t need a radio to talk to God; He is here listening and guiding me. All you have to do is open your heart and you will find that He is already here. I believe he was touched by God that day.

  4. Yeah I do the Santa thing for my son, but it is my rule the most wanted gift comes from Jesus! I also taught my son that Santa is a servant to Jesus, because Santa teaches others how to be charitable. It is better to give than receive, yet he still anticipates the day for his gifts, lol! It has been for the last few years not the cheerful holiday I use to enjoy, because my mother died on this day,so my eyes see it differently, but Yes thankfully He is already here and I know He comforts me as I smile and laugh while watching my son look for the elf on the shelf each day until Santa and Jesus give him presents. * Tim C, recently my account was compromised and my funds were frozen! I spoke to my landlord and had to trust in the Lord as I am a new renter, believe me I was frantic as the days counted waiting for the bank to remedy the situation. I understand it is not the same, however, the Lord came through my rent got paid 2 weeks after the due date. Do not lose hope brother: He’s never early and never late (His time,lol) I will keep you in prayer. BTW: on the medical bills, regardless of the amount you can make a good faith payment of $5.00 a month and they can not touch you. (I did medical billing for years b4 I changed positions 😉 )
    Merry Christmas Mr. John Fischer and Family

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