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    Crazy Days in December


    After coaching basketball all day on Saturday, running through the turbulent waves of Christmas shoppers at the local Walmart, I fell into my bed crazy-tired. The following Sunday was going to be a big day at church. We were having our Christmas musical. I was going to be teaching our middle school Sunday school class. And we were going to have a men’s prayer breakfast at 7 am.  Such is the life of a deacon in a small church. Crazy.

    And then came the crazy weather.  The problem with winter weather in the south is that our weather is usually loud. Thunder claps, the wind bursts through the shutters, and the midnight deluge pounds our roof.  Snow, on the other hand, creeps in quietly and sometimes when the weatherman least expects it. Suddenly all church activities are in question.  That’s the way it went that Sunday morning. Just because I’m chairman of the deacons, doesn’t mean I run the church and make the big calls such as how much we’re going to do on Sundays. You know, Christians through the ages have crossed rivers, hidden from all the kings men in caves, suffered through plague and pestilence in order to worship, but bring an inch of snowfall in Tennessee and you would have thought that all of the Left Behind books were coming to fruition over night. I must have had 15 calls that morning.  (Even the pastor called me for advice.)

    Once the word was out that we would rick life and limb by maintaining the full schedule, I made it to the church at 6 AM to help flip the flap-jacks and scramble the eggs. Even though I was still a little tired, it was a great morning. We had a record number of men at the event. Crazy!  I couldn’t believe it.  Perhaps some of them got the calls that I got about the snow.  Every teacher and student hoped this below freezing snow would stick around just one more day. When it’s a matter of a snow day it’s amazing how my children turn into prayer warriors.   

    Despite the weather concerns we had a great turn out at the music. It’s not often in Tennessee that you get to experience the warmth and spirit of a Norman Rockwell Christmas painting.

    The musical created quite a stir. With our little auditorium full, we pulled out all the stops. A donkey for Mary and two lambs for the shepherd brought an amazing ambience of reality- both in sight and smell.  We were prepared for the worst, by strategically placing visqueen® at the stopping points of our four-footed guests. But we weren’t prepared for our donkey’s reaction to the lambs when the shepherd showed up.  Who would think that a mule would get spooked by sheep? He was subtle about it.  Slowly backing away with wide eyes, He stole the show when the angel appeared in the balcony. I don’t think the donkey ever seen a person in all white appearing from a cloud of pink fog. The donkey he-hawed and dropped his rear legs and sat down.  We didn’t know if the mule was nervous and his legs were giving way or if he was having a religious experience.  Either way, nobody will ever forget that snowy night in south central Tennessee.

    Every element of the deacon is really in the story of Christmas.  We are all working together in the process of bringing Christ into our town. All of us have ways to remind each other that Jesus name is indeed Emmanuel- God with us. And what the world views as crazy, we view as beautiful.  Crazy beautiful, if you please,

    Everyone in the story appears to be crazy.  Prophets and poets wait for the hope of the world not knowing when He will arrive or what the arrival will really look like. Crazy! A girl in her early teens says that she’s expecting having never been with a man. A fiancé’ that believes her.
    Yes crazy.  Eastern mystics chase a star every night at dusk while sleeping in the daylight traveling on the red-eye roads of night. Westward-bound, Shepherds claiming divine announcements and angelic hosts run into the inner-city to find a Baby in rags and they worship him as a King.  Crazy. A powerful famous king fears and envies an obscure child, murdering a town’s population of infants. Sad (and crazy.) A Jewish child appears to the world as a Savior. Indeed, it sounds crazy.

    So our message is that this really happened. We have faith and that’s why we serve. That’s why we try to impact the kids on the basketball team, and visit the lonely, and bring the bread and the cup to those who can’t come to the table. In a world that’s full of crazy- busy, despairing  seekers we offer a crazy story that is 100% true and 100% life-changing:

    • What if there was a God?
    • What if there was a deep hunger in the heart of heaven?
    • What if God desired love and the love of God desired us- all of us
    • What if the course of human history was laid on the table for this one moment when God reached down in flesh?
    • What if God realizing that man's ascent would never reach the cusp of the divine and that He is far too difficult a concept to be explained in documents and rituals, would come to the world as a Baby?
    • What if He knew the only way to the heart of man would be to take on flesh and live with us?
    •  What if it were all true 


    What would we call it? Just Crazy? No I think, in all its aspects, we’d call it beautiful.
    Beautiful it is.
    And beautiful He is.
    And now he’s calling us out of our own craziness into the reality of grace. 

    Lord, as deacons, open us to the truth, the reality, the history of your extended hand that found its way to us.