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Saturday, December 18, 2010

BAG-PIPES, BALLOONS, AND A BABY







“WHERE’S THE BAG PIPE PLAYER!!!,” was the way our Christmas party started. People standing in the cold, dressed in bow-ties and frilly purple skirts, a few people addicted to the security of their cell phones, and then suddenly there arose such a clatter... Dennis, the bag-pipe player, standing in a kilt waving an American flag. This was going to be a fun night.

After twenty minutes of ear splitting Christmas bag-pipe playing we settled in for a dinner of broccoli casserole, Mexican corn, buttered mashed potatoes, sliced turkey, cornbread dressing, hot rolls, and the infamous bourbon sweet potatoes. With our ears still ringing we observed the fact that our alcohol free party suddenly had a window of opportunity for JP when he returned for eight helpings of the tangy bourbon sweet potatoes. Dinner was topped off with a fresh chocolate pie and a moist strawberry cake. Our stomachs were full and our ears were still ringing.

If you are struggling to understand what it is like to have a bag-pipe player in your living room, go to church, climb in the organ while it is being played, jingle a bunch of hand bells, and you will know what it feels like. Dennis informed us the instrument was designed to be heard over cannons and the firing of rifles on the battlefield of war. I am fairly sure when Jesus returns it will be announced with trumpets… and a bag-pipe.

Earlier, while discussing upcoming party games, Jenny had exclaimed, “Oh great, I like to inhale stuff!” The ensuing helium Christmas Caroling was quite the show but was trumped by who stuffed Santa Claus. Shawn and Squirrel both donned 4XL red jogging suits while we blew up balloons and stuffed them like a Thanksgiving Turkey. We counted the balloons by popping them with a butcher knife until Squirrel said, “That is not a balloon! That’s my leg!” It was getting out of hand.

Dirty Santa turned into a collection of valuables like lottery tickets, hermit crabs, Michael Jackson ornaments, volcano kits, and bowling sets. Our attempt at charades was thwarted by inconsistencies in people holding the bowl containing the slips of paper with the things to act out (nice try Whitney). It almost turned ugly but the Christmas spirit prevailed and laughter returned when someone revealed they loved to make snow Angels… especially in yellow snow. I am still confused about that one.

After everyone had left and with the house still in pleasant disarray, I went to the kitchen and grabbed a piece of left over warm strawberry cake and a cold glass of coke. I sat down in comfy chair by my fake electric fire and started thinking about Christmas.

A baby. God is into small things. He planted the earth with seeds, not big trees, in the beginning (read about it in Genesis 2). For whatever reason our Creator chooses to bring himself to bear through tiny things. He celebrates things like cups of cold water, the widow’s mite, small baskets of food, and mustard seeds. He comes to us in a eight pound child. "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us." Amazing Grace! If only we would give a small amount of our time, a small prayer of gratitude, a small token of our love to a big God who comes to us in small ways.

A woman. God redeems all his creation. When Eve took that fateful first bite of the forbidden fruit, the reputation of women suffered, and has sadly continued to suffer. I cannot help but believe that the delicate, beautiful nature of a woman made her a natural target, not just for Satan… but thankfully for a loving God too. Men had been prophets, men had fought great battles, men had ruled great cities but who found favor in the eyes of God? A woman named Mary who pondered and treasured the dear things of God in her heart. What do we ponder and treasures in our hearts? Through faith we all have God in us too. We too have found favor in the eyes of God. This Good news should transform our thinking and make us all kneel before both the cradle and the Cross.

A man. Mankind was made in God’s image. At a very crucial point in time He revealed himself to us in a format that we would not fear, and almost not notice. He tiptoed into our world, seen by a few wisemen, a shepherd, and a handful of kings. Ironically a host of angels celebrated his birth just as they do the new birth of any child of God. This man named Jesus became a leader, a teacher, a servant, a friend, and a Savior. He was recognized as Lord, yet he washed feet and entertained children. He was God but He was everything a true man was ever meant to be. He was a faithful son, a loving Lord, and sacrificial servant. His obedience not only separated the old testament from the new testament, B.C from A.D, it separates me from my sin and this is why I celebrate Christmas.

During our party we had a serious moment where I said, “Whatever part of me you like, this love I have for you, is all an extension of God’s love for me. God’s love for me enables my love for you. So if you want to thank someone, thank God.” What a gift he gave, His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. He himself said, “I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” Amen! Hallejuah! Glory to God in the highest! Peace in my heart and goodwill toward me. (crying)

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