I was sitting in a Starbucks last week listening to the constant drone of secular Christmas music. The song that just finished playing was an Andy Williams favorite "It is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year." Is it really? I live in the tension of a Jesus who answers the young ruler's question "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" with " Sell all you have, give it to the poor and come follow me." I hate that tension. OK, literal interpretations might not apply but the call for me to practice a simplified lifestyle is undeniable. Good word for July, August maybe but December? I want someone to give me that 40 inch big screen tv for Christmas. I love having an i phone that texts, and brings me email on the run. I have a bunch of apps on it that I have no idea how to operate but if I ever learn I will turn into an accomplished gamer. I want travel money to go see whales around the Dominican Republic. I want a new SUV that will carry more stuff in even more comfort. I am not competely selfish, I want more money so I can get more stuff for my grandkids because I want them to see Grandpa John as the "awesome" grand parent who showers them with gadgets and toys!
I know Christmas is not my birthday, but I also know my heart, so I pray.... "come Lord Jesus, change my heart and transform Christmas for me this year." Jesus answered my prayer by sending me to church. I know what you are thinking "Find transformation in church?" Go figure. The sermon was barely adequate but the lay people are transforming the world. We had little cut outs of footprints all around the worship area. "These are the footprints of real children in Mexico. It has their names gender, age, and stories written in each footprint, Your job is to take these paper footprints to the shoe store, buy a pair of shoes during this Christmas season, bring the shoes to the church in time for the children to receive new shoes fr Christmas."
I love it! I can buy shoes for a child in Mexico to deepen my journey with Jesus! But Jesus hasn't changed my heart completely. I will look for a 11 year old boy who would love a pair of Michael Jordan Nikes. He will have shoes, but not sensible shoes, and in one small way, the tension will live on!