Friday, December 10, 2010

Find God’s cheer – all year - Gibson

Sometimes at Christmas I sense that the lyrics of “Deck the Halls” have changed to “Deck the shops with and ire and folly, na na na na.... Tis the season to be growly, na na na na....”

Even for Christians, Christmas often becomes a lengthy, disappointing list:

Too much commotion, and no peace. Too much eating, and nothing to satisfy inner hunger. Too much glitter, and very little graciousness. Too much activity, but scant purpose. Too much living and no real life.

The list drones on: Too much talk, but nothing to say. Too much church, and not enough worship. Too many people, but precious little fellowship. Too much laughter, but no lasting joy.

Saddest of all? Too many gifts, and no Divine presence.

In a crowded parking lot just before Christmas a few years ago, I maneuvered my car between two others. As I opened my door, it lightly tapped the side of the older vehicle next to me—my first mistake.

A quick inspection revealed no damage, so I began walking away—fast, trying to escape the bitter prairie wind. My second mistake.

A harsh voice exploded behind me. “Yeah, right, you (bleepety, bleeped bleep). Just walk away. See if I care. Ya just wrecked the side of my car, ya know.”

My mind had already jumped to my mission inside the warmth of the store. It took a second to even hear the voice, and another to realize that it came from the car parked next to mine. Turning, I saw a middle-aged woman slouched in the driver’s seat. I hadn’t noticed her before. Horrified, I turned around and walked back. Mistake number three.

“Ma’am, I’m so sorry. I did tap your car, but there’s no damage,” I said. “Look for yourself. But please forgive me—I would have said something if I’d noticed you sit...”

She didn’t let me finish. Her window was down, and her ire was up.

“Yeah. (Bleepedy) right ‘ya checked it, ya (bleepety bleeped bleep). She followed that colorful verbal barrage with energetic obscene gestures and even greater flapping of her tongue.

Well, okay then.

Realizing that her diatribe was likely less about her car than her life, I didn’t make mistake number four. Trying to reason with a fool makes two fools, usually, so I simply turned and walked away, thinking, “Christmas clearly hasn’t made her jolly!”

In fact, Christmas can’t make anyone jolly, even Christians. At least not for long. If you’re not happy at the beginning of December, it’s highly unlikely you’ll find joy under the tree on December 25, and definitely not at Boxing Day sales, no matter how deeply discounted that new iPhone is.

Lasting joy doesn’t spring up like a jack-in-the-box. It blooms by intentionally nurturing Christ’s spirit within, by daily opening the gift of Divine Presence, and by living life determined, above all else, to please God—year round.

God’s cheer as you prepare to celebrate Christ. Tis the season to be holy...Ha la la la la, la le- liua!

Sunny Side Up, Kathleen Gibson's weekly faith and life newspaper column, is also posted at

1 comment:

Peter Black said...

Thank you for raising my cheeks into a broad smile, despite the sense of frustration you effectively communicated. :)
There's a really important and serious message in this for us all!

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