On the Seventh Day of Christmas, my true friend gave to me...
The Greatest Gift…Our Father’s Love
A CHRISTMAS THOUGHT FOR THE DAY…
"The Son of God became a man to enable men to become the sons of God." -C.S.Lewis, "Mere Christianity"
I LOVE TO TELL THE STORY…"The Greatest Gift"
Subways are not a place for secrets. Hurtling through man-made tunnels at what feels like roller-coaster speeds, there is still an amazing amount of time for piecing together stories from bits of information overheard en route. Seated behind me was a burly man wearing a mechanic's jacket covered with engine oil, and a young boy I guessed to be about twelve. In the silence of the stopped train, everyone could hear everything they said.
(Huge sigh) "How could you embarrass me like that?" the father said. Silence from the boy. (Rolled head, rolled eyes, big sigh) "I mean it. How could you do that to me?" Still no response from the boy. "Answer me!" the father says loudly, and to my ear, menacingly. "I want an answer and I want it right now!" he shouted, oblivious to the rest of us in the car. Still the young boy didn't answer him.
I'm thinking this doesn't feel like it's going to stop with words. Then something incredible happened.
I wish I'd been watching the faces of this father and son because there must have been a thousand pages of poetry in the expressions they exchanged in the next few seconds. But I didn't see any of that because I was still trying to give the boy some pretense that nobody else was listening. But here's what I heard: One last long huge sigh, and then the father said, "I'm really sorry, son. I don't know what I'm thinking," and with those words he started to cry.
Only then did the young boy speak, and timidly at that. "I'm really scared, Dad." He started to cry too.
I'm betting they weren't the only two people crying in that downtown subway train that day. In fact, I know they weren't, because I saw the guy across from me with the Wall Street look wiping his eyes while pretending like me that we didn't hear a thing.
I know what the boy did that had him scared and embarrassed his dad, but that really isn't important. What matters is that when I stood up to get off the train as it finally moved to the next stop, that big burly dad was cradling that not so big little boy, and the two of them could care less what the rest of the world thought. I remember thinking they must have loved each other very much.
As individuals, we often live the kind of lives that embarrass God in the eyes of those trying to find Him. Despite all that, when Jesus told the story of the Prodigal Son, the father in that story raced to the broken son. Raced to him! And when the world could find no way to restore itself to God, He raced toward that world Himself, entering it for the first time as a Baby in a manger.
Each of us who find our way to that Baby born so long ago discovers that the journey leads not to a crib or a child but instead to the Father who gathers us in a loving embrace; one that starts today and never, ever ceases. It's the greatest gift we'll ever get.
--Compliments of Randy Kilgore
YOUR MIRTHFUL MOMENT OF THE DAY...
“Securing Christmas lights to the tree can be a production. One year, when we finally stood back and flicked on the light switch, I noticed that a branch obscured our prized angel ornament. I grabbed the pruning shears, mounted a stool, and snipped once, and the lights went out. My husband quietly said, ‘You don’t have your glasses on, do you?’”
—Compliments of Lynn Kitchen, Parksville, British Columbia
YOUR YOUTUBE CHRISTMAS MOMENT
This year, I wanted to introduce some new Christmas music you may not have heard. Today, enjoy Matt Maher singing “Glory (Let There Be Peace).”
You can find the archived messages from this year's series on my website at http://terrypaulson.com/christmas.shtml/. More tomorrow...as we prepare for His coming!
Your Host for this Year's Journey....