Early this morning on TV, I watched a man hanging from a rope while he maneuvered his way down a tall building. Even watching a man scale down a 22 story building is not my idea of a thrill ride.
My race, however, isn’t with cars, shopping or going-down buildings attached to a rope or dangling from a large rubber band. My race is with time. There are always many more events and parties scheduled during the Christmas holidays than any one human can possibly accomplish. Add to that out-of-town company, house cleaning, extra cooking, additional laundry and decorating. Simply put, by the second day of December, I know I’m drowning in a holiday time-machine and the thrilling race for time-survival begins.
Men–bless their hearts–never seem to understand or catch the spirit of this heart-stopping race with time. “Relax” becomes their mantra during the season. They shout their misplaced encouragement from the TV room while dishes and dirty clothes fiendishly grow in the working part of the house.
I’m the area director of Special Gathering, a ministry within the mentally challenged community. That is, I’m the pastor of a small cloistered community in three towns, that span 150 miles apart. Yesterday, I made my first thrill ride to my first Happy Birthday, Jesus party. There were presents to remember and prepare for 22 people. My mind whirled as I made my list of things to do. Decorations, drinks, cups, plates, napkins, forks, a birthday cake and sandwiches were topped by a 300-mile drive. My day began at 5AM and ended at 8PM.
Why would anyone with a sane bone in their body do this? Because 17 overly-excited people met me at the door of their workshop where we have Special Gathering. Because a few of these neophyte Christians had forgotten that Christmas is celebrated because it’s Jesus’ birthday. (However, they all remembered “He is alive.”)
December 3 and 4 are our Christmas plays. The name of the play this years is JOY! As I attached a Joy pin onto my suit lapel early yesterday morning, I prayed, “Lord, help me to remember that the joy of the Lord is my strength. Help me put your joy into my schedule. Let this be a joy-filled day.”
As I crawled into bed last night, I was exhausted but filled with excited expectation. As I drifted off to sleep, I spoke to the Lord, “One party down, two plays and two parties to go. It’s been a good day. Bless this ride and help me to keep you at the center of this wonderful, thrilling time.”