My Leather Jacket

I wish I was a better person. My wife, now she is an extraordinary woman who loves people, and serves God. I think of this one time we were in San Diego for a visit. Jen went over to Starbucks while I was in line at the Yogurt Mill. She was getting some snacks and coffee for the ride back to Yuma.

A man behind her in line who was from some El Cajon church (I wish I remembered which one) paid for her things, and I think for a few more people in the store. Jen came back to where I was and as we were about to get back into the car, she noticed a homeless guy on crutches leaning against a dumpster.

“I’m gonna give him this stuff,” she said, gesturing with the food. And she walked over there with David and did that very thing. She paid it forward that day.

I want to serve God with that kind of heart.

I remember a while back, some friends and I had gone clubbing in downtown San Diego on January 2nd, and it was still pretty darn cold. I remember walking back to the car after being out at about 2am. There were people sleeping here and there on the sidewalks and in doorways. As we stepped past this particular doorway, I could sense a very strong direction from God to give my jacket (it was a pretty nice leather jacket) to a particular homeless man, who was sleeping sitting up, his back against a wall.

I didn’t do it. I was cold.

After that, I could not get around what I’d done–or not done, I guess. I’d always wanted direction from God, and when I got it, I looked toward my own best interests, and did not clothe one of the “least of these.”

I couldn’t wear that jacket again, and went so far as to stow it in the trunk of my car. I still ask God for forgiveness of that one. My leather jacket stayed in the trunk for a good long while. And then one day a friend from my small group was doing a “jacket outreach” to downtown San Diego–it was the next winter, I think. I handed the jacket over to her without thinking about it.

I don’t say this to convince anyone of what a great person I am for doing something I should have done the year before. I only say it because not doing what God prompted consumed me for the better part of a year. And this time of year, I feel like there might be a lot of people out there who feel like they should do something to help someone that needs it. To offer food, or clothing, or simply a friendly ear to a person who needs any of those things.

Please, please if you feel that kind of prompting from God, or the Holy Spirit moves you in some other way, just do what you feel led to. Don’t wait. Especially this time of year. There are people out there hurting, and needing, and wanting. I think of a posting my friend Jorge had on Facebook today about a young mother that lost her job and had nothing. I don’t know if it was true or not, but it still moved me.

We did a really big outreach here in Yuma about a year-and-a-half ago to Crossroads Mission and a couple of other places. I was fortunate and blessed enough to speak to a gathering of about 20 men in an after-dinner chapel service they are made to attend when they stay at the mission.

I remember talking to some of the men (and women who worked there but were not residents) prior to and after the chapel service, and they were such amazing people.

But I imagine they were used to getting stepped over in doorways.

If you live here in Yuma and you ever have the chance to serve there, I cannot encourage you more. You will be blessed to know those folks, I promise you. There are plenty of places like that in San Diego, too.

Find one.

Serve there, if you can. Serve anywhere.

But don’t let another doorway pass you by.

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Of Bullies and Drama

There’s been a lot said and written about bullying—both cyber and otherwise—over the past few years, and much of that was in regard to young people experiencing it in such a way that they ended up taking their own lives.

There was the Rutgers student who leapt from a bridge in New York after he was cruelly “outed” over the internet by his roommate. Also the Irish girl who was so piled on by other students in her high school here in the U.S. that she sought out a rope.

I don’t want to take anything away from either of these situations, because both were horrible. Yet I feel it would be remiss not to mention it is not just gays and high school students who dated the wrong boy who are bullied.

Fat kids are bullied, too. And skinny kids. Poor kids, or kids who wear the wrong clothes. Kids who are from the “wrong” side of town, whose house might not be as nicely made as other, more well-to-do students.

Nothing is so cruel as a teenager who for some reason thinks the only way he or she can reach the proper level of popularity is to prey on weaker kids.

I saw some of that when I was just starting high school, but in one respect I was a lot luckier than some of the other kids going through the same sort of thing.

I had an older brother who was probably worse than any of them would ever be. Who taught me about what real cruelty was, and did so much to destroy my self-image that nothing these 9th grade amateurs could come up with could even make a dent in my already trashed psyche.

I learned how to be a victim from the best.

I had a cast on my left arm nearly to my shoulder for most of my freshman year. Usually, most kids left me alone, but for the first week or so after it happened, it offered me some small measure of celebrity because I was able to relate the story of the break over and over again. It made a sound like a large carrot stick snapping, and I got to where I could describe it pretty well. Soon, though, I was just another poor and overweight kid who wanted desperately to disappear into the swirl of activity that high school was.

But I remember there was this one kid in my 9th grade Geography class who sat directly behind me and thought it was great fun to kick or punch me in the small of my back. I suppose he wanted to get a response from me, but he never did. I didn’t tell on him, but I never made a sound to acknowledge the blows, either.

The teacher was this tiny old German Jewish lady—a sweet little grandma—that knew a lot about the world, and probably much of cruelty. This same guy that liked to pick on me, along with a “friend,” one day cut a small swastika from masking tape and stuck it on the lens of the classroom projector, so that when Mrs Kohls turned on the projector at the back of the class, a large swastika was displayed on the movie screen at the front.

I don’t remember what she did after that, but when I walked out of the class that morning the swastika guy accosted me just outside the door. I didn’t say anything to him, but just shoved him against the wall and walked away, directly to the counselor’s office.

I didn’t do anything to speak up for the teacher, or even for myself, really. I didn’t have any fantasies of coming back to school strapped and exacting my revenge on my tormentors. I just wanted to get away from them. So I made up some dumb reason, asked for a transfer to another class, and got it.

I was sick of hearing about how my clothes looked cheap, and how I should be going to a different school. I was sick of hearing that my hair was too long, or too shaggy, or that I was a pussy because I didn’t stick up for myself. It wasn’t necessarily that I was afraid to–I’d just never learned how.

I often wondered what he and others got out of mistreating me and other kids that weren’t cool enough, or weren’t something enough to be offered the same respect and freedom from cruelty that the majority of the other kids received.

I never found out. And thinking about Mrs Kohls now, I really regret I didn’t do anything in the class when those two shitheads did that thing with the projector, or do anything afterward.

What I did find was drama class, and a room full of other kids who didn’t fit in anywhere, either. It was a big, really diverse group, and more importantly to me, none of the “cool” kids were in it. I had never been so happy to be anywhere in my life.

It was that class which helped me to realize that I was not alone. There were other kids who were poor, or funny looking, or had scars. I didn’t know any gay people at the time, but I would guess there may have been one or two of them there, too.

I realized that it did get better, and I never ended up on a rooftop with a rifle or thought seriously about ending my own life. I was lucky in that regard because I am well aware now of the cost of feeling that way—like you’re alone, and there is no hope at all.

There is hope.

I didn’t know Christ then, but I had a small circle of friends that through their presence in my life lifted me up above the nonsense I was going through, and the careless cruelty of other teenagers. It was enough.

Again, I was very lucky.

If anyone at all is reading this, maybe you’re like that, too. Maybe there’s someone who likes to try and make you feel like you’re nothing, and you never will be. Maybe they hurt you physically, and maybe it’s just words. Either way, the pain is all too real, and sometimes feels like it’s more than you can take.

I am fully aware how hard it is, but I promise you it will not endure forever. There is an end, and things do—really do—get better. Talk to someone. A friend, a family member. A pastor, a teacher. Just talk to someone before you take any steps you cannot come back from.

You are here because God wants you to be. You matter, and are loved.

Let me say just a few more words in the way of an epilogue. After I got out of that class, I never experienced any more bullying. I huddled with the other “drama geeks” and we circled our wagons to protect us. It worked.

I did have one more interaction with the geography guy and his buddy, though. Now, I don’t believe in Karma, but I do believe we absolutely reap what we sow. It certainly happened in this case.

About 5 or 6 years after graduation, I saw the back kicker’s buddy bicycling around El Cajon on a little boy’s BMX bike, with his t-shirt tucked into his back pocket. He looked like what we then called a “sketch monkey.” That would be a tweaker today. We didn’t speak, and all I could muster up in the way of feeling was a weak “too bad for him.”

Shortly after that, I was in the Santee Vons picking up a few groceries, and saw the back kicker himself bagging groceries in my line. He didn’t look as bad as the other guy, but he had quite a few miles on his odometer. When I got up to the front of the line, as he slipped my things into a bag, he looked at me and gave me an almost-robotic sounding “How you doing?”

I couldn’t tell if he recognized me or not, but I recognized him. I looked in his eyes and responded “I’m doing fine.”

I realize that I should probably not have found any satisfaction in how those boys were doing when I saw them after high school, but the part of me that had been hurt very much did, and wanted to say not only “I’m fine,” but also “that’s what you get.”

When I think about it now, I realize that rejoicing in another’s misery–no matter how seemingly justified–is never the right thing to do. I was wrong to be glad at the lots of those two young men who had made my life so difficult. Sometimes I wonder what happened to them.

I wish I had a tidy epilogue to wrap things up, but all I can really say is that I am not now who I was then, though that person still lives within me.

I hope anyone who reads this that’s been picked on, belittled, hurt or abused in any way just hangs on for a little while longer. And then longer still. Change takes time, for everyone. And you’re stronger than you know.

Mea Culpa

I read something today that really shook me up. On the weblog “Stuff Christians Like,” Jon Acuff wrote:

“I want Christ to be in charge of my growth. A Christ that didn’t say to the disciples, “Come and you will learn how to be fishers of men.” A Christ who said, “Come and I will make you fishers of men.”

If you and I believed for a second that the same power that raised Christ from the dead was in us, can you fathom how different that day would be?”

It occurred to me to wonder when I stopped doing this. It is not that I have stopped believing, because I haven’t. It’s just that the everyday business of being a Christian has taken the place of being with Christ, and feeling and believing He is within me.

Lately, I’ve been feeling pretty good about myself. Work is going well, I love my wife, and I am also making good grades in school. I go to church a couple times a week, and men’s group on Thursday. I’m a really religious guy.

And that’s where the problem is.

Somewhere along the line I got a little lost in doing all the things Christian people are “supposed” to do, and forgot the most important thing of all: do the things God prompts me to do, the things his spirit leads me to do.

If I’m not doing that, my “religion” is empty, and I might as well just be doing a job rather than “worshipping.” I have not allowed his Spirit to speak to me, to lead me.

That’s something that has to stop. I could complain and complain about how my church isn’t like the one I had in San Diego, and that’s why I haven’t been as “spiritual,” but that wouldn’t be the truth. It’s true FCC and Newbreak are very different, but FCC is no less spirit filled, and spirit led.

If the spirit has been quiet, it’s because I have not been listening.

I don’t want to live that way anymore, and I am not going to. People say all the time that they want to be filled with the Holy Spirit—they pray for it, too. I heard someone (I don’t remember who) say something not long ago to the effect of “we already are filled with the Holy Spirit.”

That’s true, isn’t it? He lives within our hearts.

I just have to let him lead me, and listen to him.

Should be easy, right?

Fear

I wrote this back in 2005, and it is so interesting how much things have changed. I’m married, new town, job, church, new everything. 2 kids…

Somebody once said that your childhood is over the moment you realize you’re going to die. That is so true. I remember feeling as a small child that old age (let alone death) was about as far away as the moon. I remember thinking I’d never get old, and that if I somehow did, well, by then they’d have figured out a way to keep people from dying. But the older I got, the more I felt almost transfixed by death. I didn’t want to think about it, but not thinking about it, or trying not to, made it even worse. I think it was mostly the fear of it that, in a way, stopped my growth cold (my spiritual growth, anyway), though I could probably come up with a lot of excuses why it took so long for me to come to Jesus.

It would be fairly easy, but it would also be a copout, because the only reason that matters is that I was afraid. Not the numbing fear one might feel in a life threatening situation (though it could be argued that facing eternity without God is more than life threatening), but more of the creeping horror a person slowly becomes aware of when they realize their mortality for the first time. I had finally come to the realization that my days were numbered, and that I had no idea what was next.

It began a lot earlier. Before I even had any idea what death was, I was still pretty much scared witless most of the time, and it wasn’t just one thing. No. I was afraid of lots of things as a child. Spiders scared me half to death, but so did the Tilt-a-whirl and clowns. I remember riding on a tilt-a-whirl one time at a carnival and my sister had them stop the ride in the middle because she thought I was dead. I felt that way, too—it was like having my guts pressed through my back. I was twelve when that happened and I haven’t been on a tilt-a-whirl since. One of my buddies told me later a kid had his head roll off into the sawdust at a county fair someplace while riding a crack-the-whip. I could believe it. Those things were like tilt-a-whirls on speed.

So far as clowns go, you’d always hear about people booking them for birthday parties “for the kids,” but I never knew a single kid who liked them. I’ve never wanted a balloon animal so much I’d risk my life to get it. And when I read It, by Stephen King, I felt vindicated. Clowns were scary, and I wasn’t the only one who thought so.

That book had the scariest villain ever—Pennywise, the dancing clown, self-described “eater of worlds, and of children.” I’ve read most of King’s books more than once, but not that one.

I think my fascination with the macabre wasn’t just because of King, though, or because of all the metal music I listened to. I believe a lot of it came from simply trying to get my mind around death. It scared me more than anything, yet I was profoundly interested in it. I had the normal child’s fascination with how things worked, and like any child, no question was asked more frequently than why? So when people started dying around me, that was the first thing I wanted to know.

When my father died, I just couldn’t understand it. He was pretty fit for his age at the time (57), and as a sixteen year old, it seemed like death was something for really old or really sick people. My father was neither. He’d been on heart medication for years, but it was supposed to have gotten things under control. Nevertheless, in May of 1984, he died from a heart attack. I took it personally. Like God was somehow finally getting involved in my life, and not in the way you always heard Christian people talking about it. I felt like he just sort of threw it at me to see what I’d do. What I did was find solace in the love of my friends, and in music. I was lucky. I was lucky, but I was also afraid. I didn’t know anything about heart attacks. Maybe I could have one. It seemed like better odds than winning the lottery.

The thought of death scared the crap out of me. Would it hurt? Probably, I thought. It had to. And what happened after? Was there a boatman waiting for you, or was that just for warriors? I’d heard people mention Sheol, and Purgatory, neither of which sounded like much fun. That is, if either of them existed at all. So I read more horror fiction, and I listened to a lot of metal music. Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, sometimes Slayer. They all had these really interesting songs about death, about what it was, and about what followed it. Not that I was particularly interested in trying out Hell—but I thought I was in little danger of that. It seemed that only people like serial killers and child molesters went there.

I just remember playing a lot of basketball (if you can call H-O-R-S-E basketball) after my dad died, and listening to Springsteen’s Born in the USA over and over again. And Iron Maiden’s Number of the Beast and Piece of Mind. The music and the time with my friends got me past the grief, and most of the fear. I hadn’t, after all, heard of many sixteen-year-olds having heart attacks. So after a time, I was able to get on with things.

Then one day in January of 1986, a couple of older ladies walking their dogs found a body on the hill my friends and I (everyone, really) used to hang out on—it was on the way to the basketball courts. There was the crumbled ruins of an old dairy with an enormous pepper tree in front of it up there, and we used to sit under it and drink, and talk, and occasionally fool around a little (well, not us, but some people did—none of us were fortunate enough to have girlfriends). The women found a young man lying on the large flat spot in front of the dairy with a rifle at his feet and a trail of blood running down the dirt into the grass nearly ten yards away. T hree of my friends and I (the fourth in our group had gone missing—he’d graduated early and we hadn’t seen much of him over the past few days) walked past the blood trail later that day after the body was gone and were cracking jokes about it. We thought it must’ve been a drug deal gone bad, or a murder (nothing like that had happened in Santee that any of us knew of). It was astounding that no one had cleaned up the blood, but there it was. I nearly dropped the basketball in it.

It wasn’t until the next day we found out the body had belonged to our friend, Ben. He’d been a great musician, and a good friend, and none of us had the slightest idea anything was wrong. There obviously had been, because he took a guitar case up to the dairy with a rifle in it and shot himself in the head.

Why hadn’t we, why hadn’t I, felt or sensed something? We should have. We were his friends, and wasn’t that what friends were for? Yet we hadn’t. And he was dead. What had happened to bring him to that point? What had he been feeling as he sat there? Had death come right away, right after the shot? Or did he have to lie there in the cold and bleed to death? We didn’t know. And where was he now, dead? We didn’t know that, either.

It wasn’t even a year after Ben that my mother died. She’d been battling cancer for years (since I was ten), and it had finally won the day. But the most remarkable thing happened to my mom before she died. I was coming back up to her room one day and I stopped outside the room because I heard her talking to someone—who turned out to be the father of a family friend, who was some kind of pastor back in the Bahamas. What I heard was my mother reciting what I would later learn was called the sinner’s prayer, and accepting Christ into her heart. I’d seen her read an old bible before, but considering the way things were going, had never thought she would get “religious.”

I remember that made me so angry at the time. It wasn’t going to save her. You heard people saying God could heal all the time, but he never did. And you heard all the time about faith healers being exposed as charlatans, and about thousands of pilgrims going to places like Lourdes looking for a miracle. They might as well kiss the Blarney Stone. She was still going to die, and it was God’s fault.

She’d spent the past year constantly afraid, and had never (so far as I knew) addressed what was coming. Not once did we discuss it. If she didn’t admit it, then it wasn’t going to happen. So this praying thing made no sense at all. What was the point? And when it only took four of us to carry her casket, I finally realized the finality of death. She obviously was no longer here—that casket felt empty. So where was she, then? Was she floating on a cloud somewhere? That seemed completely ridiculous.

So it seemed that death would either take me suddenly, or after a prolonged and painful (and ultimately futile) fight.

Consequently, I did what any good agnostic would do in that situation—I tried not to think about it. I addressed none of my questions and eventually they went away, or at least I was able to occupy my mind with other things.

A few years after that, I met a man named Tim Wakefield, who was a pastor, and he didn’t fit into any of my preconceived templates for Christian behavior. I met him through a friend, a guy I went to Grossmont College with for a time who was someone I closely identified with. He became a Christian and I couldn’t believe it. He’d been through most of the things I had—more, even, and it seemed odd that he would succumb to something like rhetoric. But he did, and shortly after that, he invited me to his church and I met Tim. I met him and I realized there were some things he might be able to help me understand. We began to talk about God occasionally. We began to be friends.

Then one day in March, he was riding his motorcycle to visit his father in Arizona. He slid on a patch of oily freeway and was killed. So that was it. It seemed obvious that death was completely arbitrary, and that no matter what I did or didn’t do, it could come for me without any warning at all. I could be walking out of a store and a piano could fall on my head—ridiculous, maybe, but that wouldn’t make me any less dead. And so when my friends and I went on our usual trip to Padres spring training a few days later, it was all I could think about. Death was the ultimate opportunist, and I could very well be his next target. It was that thought that was somehow able to trigger something in me, some thoughts, that nothing else had.

The first was that Death could come for me whenever it pleased. However it pleased. If it could come for a pastor, for someone that walked what he talked, then I was pretty much out of luck if I wasn’t ready. The best I could hope for was that it wouldn’t be painful, and given my run of luck, it probably would be.

The second was that I had absolutely no idea what would happen if it did. I didn’t know what was next, and I had only the smallest inkling of how to find out. I was fortunate enough to have God pretty much slap me on the back of the head and tell me, “All you have to do is ask me. I’ll tell you what’s next.”

So I asked. I admitted I couldn’t do it myself–none of it. I became a Christian in March of 2000, and then I began to get the answers I was looking for. Yes, the thought of death had scared me. Sometimes it still does, honestly, because while I want to go to Heaven, I don’t particularly want to die.

It occurred to me that of all the things that can happen to a person in life, of all the things the world holds over us like the sword of Damocles, the worst is the threat of taking away our life, or of taking the life of someone we care about. But knowing Jesus takes away that fear. Once you believe that Jesus died and rose again, once you put your trust in Him, that hanging sword is gone (Psalm 56:3-4). Because God always wants a sacrifice, and so we wouldn’t have to pay for our iniquity, so we wouldn’t have to die, so we would not have to be sacrificed, Jesus bore the weight of our sin and died in our stead, and was resurrected, that we might live (Romans 5).

Jesus will not abandon us to the grave (Psalm 16:10), and everyone who has trusted in Him, everyone who has called on His name and had their name “written in his book” will be delivered (Daniel 12).

A man I know named Tim Worden died yesterday, after battling the exact same cancer that killed my mother. Tim fought it to the very end, but in the end it still claimed his life. His earthly life, anyway. The last time I actually spoke to Tim, or heard him speak, he was talking to another friend after a church service. The sermon had been about David and Goliath, about facing the giants in our life and after the sermon, Tim went forward for prayer. My other friend went up to pray with him and soon after, a bunch of us were up there. My friend was upset and he was telling her it was going to be OK. He said this was the best time of his life and he meant it. He had Jesus in his life, and he was going to be with him. He was happy.

Tim had a death sentence hanging over his head for years, and it would have been carried out if he hadn’t found the Lord. But when he called on Jesus’ name, he defeated death. I didn’t know Tim well enough to call him a friend, but I’ll never forget his determination and his strength, or the zeal with which he pursued Jesus once he accepted him. He made the time he had left count.

But for me, the best part of knowing Tim was the outpouring of prayer it generated, prayer I was both able to witness, and take part in. At first, it was that he come to Jesus, and after that, it was to praise him for bringing Tim into his arms, and to thank Him for making me truly feel what it was like to be part of the body of Christ. Because of Tim, I was able to see, to FEEL the power of prayer. To feel the Holy Spirit. As another friend described it, that last night we all prayed for Tim was one of the most anointed nights he’d experienced. Me, too. I feel blessed I was there, and blessed to bear witness to Tim’s strength. He was barely able to walk down the aisle to the altar, but when he walked out, he was strong.

And I’ll be thankful for that night and all that happened, and for knowing Tim, as long as I live.

I’ve heard people say that the battle for all our souls won’t be won, that victory won’t be assured, until judgment day, until God calls home his children. I disagree. I think the battle was won in Gethsemane, when Jesus said, “not my will, but yours be done.” Jesus totally surrendered His will and so must we. He didn’t WANT to die, but he was willing to, because the cost if he hadn’t was so great. He did it because He would rather die himself than have us do it. He loves us that much. And so we must surrender our will to Him. It’s the only way we can draw near to Him, and drawing near to Him is the only way to be saved.

He didn’t have to die for us. He didn’t have to bear the weight of our sin. Yet he did, and consequently, we have the opportunity to live. But he won’t force us. Whether we live or die is ultimately our own choice. Our decision.

And cliche though it may be, the clock is running down on our time. We have no idea when it’s going to stop…

Thinking….I do that sometimes….

I always expected to get more and more conservative as I got older. I expected by the time I was in my 40’s, I would probably have to start a new politcal party because of how hardcore I would be.

Strangely, it has not worked out like that at all.

As I’ve gotten older and experienced more of life, the little things that used to really get stuck in my craw don’t really bother me as much anymore. Growing closer to Christ and learning more about my place in His heart has really helped with that, too.

I used to read and hear things from way on the left that would make me want to just choke someone out. I eventually came to realize that errant thoughts and misguided motives are as common as true and righteous ones, and both sides of the political spectrum are guilty of both.  I also realized that me telling someone that is not the same as them realizing it themselves.

In other words, people sometimes need to learn about things the hard way.

And while it is still true that I have nowhere else experienced the condescension and smugness that I have from Liberal folks resting comfortably on their self-righteous laurels, I do my best to not let it bother me anymore, though every now and again I still get upset.

I’m redeemed, not perfect.

I hate injustice as much as anyone.  I hate that unbiased media coverage does not exist.  I hate prejudice against someone based on ethnicity, or who they pray to, even if I don’t do the same. I hate when people resort to violence against those weaker than themselves. I hate being talked down to by people that seem to think they are the source of all wisdom because they have a graduate degree and voted for the other guy last time we hit the ballot boxes.

It’s so interesting, though. I didn’t have my temper disappear all at once, and indeed sometimes it still reminds me that it’s there. It just gradually faded into something quite manageable as the little things stopped becoming big things, because at the end of it all, none of that left and right wing shit really matters.

I also was blessed with more and more self-control as I got older (and less and less hair, as it turned out), which is really the second best thing that ever happened to me, next to meeting Jesus and my beautiful wife.  I realize that me flying into a rage or making my spleen explode is not going to help anything, and if I am who I say I am, then people are not looking for me to follow Jesus and be sincere about it.

They’re looking for me to fail, or get red-faced pissed and start screaming at people, which has flared up a few times in my family.

Not wanting to be typical has also helped me with my self-control.  Something else about some of those more liberal folks I’ve noticed over the past few years: they almost seem consumed by rage and bitterness every now and then, especially when things don’t go their way during an election, or if someone was to criticize their voting choices. I don’t even remember what that felt like. It’s good to have some peace.

Maybe this won’t make sense to anyone but me, and that’s OK. I’m just sitting here on my lunch break and thinking that the world looks a lot different when you don’t have as much of it smeared on the lenses of your glasses.

What Christmas is All About

You’ll hear a lot this time of year about what Christmas means to various people. There are those who ignore it utterly for religious or other reasons, but I think it would be fair to say most people observe the holiday to some degree. When you’re little, it means you get presents, and time off from school.

It’s similar as an adult in the sense that there is usually some time off from work involved, even if it’s just for a day or two.
People think it is about spending time with your family, and is one of just a few days where everyone will get together for any length of time.

Others recognize it as one of two days to attend some sort of church service (the other being Easter, of course). Or, to use a name coined by Ricky Bobby, the celebrate the coming of ‘sweet baby Jesus.’

All those things are true, but sometimes in the rush of everything going on this time of year, it is so easy to get caught up in all the nonsense associated with Christmas we forget the real truth of it.

I don’t think I could say it any better myself than this clip does, from the very old school “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”