A Christmas story.
I have had a milestone day.
Maybe it won't seem profound to you but it was to me.
I hesitate to share this with you because some will think that I am lifting myself up when indeed the opposite it true. I would not have felt what I felt today if I were the man I would want others to believe I am. (Which none of us are).
We are all flawed. Struggling and selfish. We strike out when we are afraid. We become ego maniacs when we fear we are not good enough. We become self righteous when we are far away from God. We become judgmental when we are the least likely to be asked to help judge others in the after life. When we close our minds to others it generally is because we are no longer curious (a bad sign) or when we are afraid that our point of view is right but we can't defend it.
I am many of those things and at times in my life I have been all of those things. Our job in life is to shed that natural man and become more Christlike.
Our next challenge in such a dark world is to SHARE our light. To not hide it under a bushel. Jesus didn't hide the healing. The apostles gave and healed and not only shared it, but wrote it down. Not for their glory but for His. To show others that joy, peace and comfort can be found.
Love will change the world. But it must be modeled. May I suggest you and I begin sharing our experiences?
I have promised The Lord, "show me miracles and I will proclaim them throughout the land." Not for my glory but for His.
Please, I beg you. Do the same thing. Let's reintroduce a good and great God to the world,
Our God is much bigger than we give Him credit for. We are worried about our jobs or our car payments. He cares and He will do those things, but let's let Him show is what He can do.
He is a God of grace, love, covenants and miracles.
This morning at six am, we got the kids up, dressed and ready to take on the snow covered mountains. We drove to a place two towns over. It was the local food bank. There, for a few hours, the kids, Tania and I, unloaded boxes, stocked shelves and helped bag groceries for those less fortunate than us.
It wasn't too long into our workday that I realized that if it wasn't for my ability to broadcast, my body would have given out and this would be the life I would be living with my children right now. There but for the grace of God go I.
About twenty minutes in, with people lined up out the door in the cold, a man looked up when I greeted him with Merry Christmas and with shock and disbelief he said to me:
"Are you ... Wait. You can't be. Are you Glenn beck?"
"Yes", I said feeling foolish. "Merry Christmas"
He looked down and said. "Wow, I never thought I would meet you here."
He paused and said perhaps to himself, "I never thought I would be here."
The gift of empathy. I felt him. I knew him. For a fraction of a second I was him and I loved him.
He had been successful and used to watch me on fox, but then lost his job and could no longer afford to watch, we caught up on things and he pushed his cart on through.
The newspaper came, looking for a Christmas story. I got down on bended knee and began to help my daughter restock shelves. It gave me a chance to bury my face until they left. I don't think they saw me. They will air the same story they air every year. In every town all over the world and no one will watch it.
I wasn't looking for a story. I was looking for a miracle. I found it. The kindness we saw. The moms with children. The gratitude. The great and powerful volunteers who treated us as if we really were making a difference on this one visit while they are there year round.
The people just like you and me, in situations they never thought possible. The people starving not for food but to no longer be invisible... Or maybe no longer wishing to be invisible.
Another man stopped me and simply said, "you are so much taller than I would have imagined. Why are you here?"
"My kids and you". I replied. He told me about how he was now raising his grand daughter as his own, this daughter just moved to New York City and left her baby. With a far away look in his eyes he pondered aloud, "how does a mother do that?"
It was a day full of heart felt questions and needed insight and answers. None of which provided by me.
It wasn't long before I truly understood: We may all be in that line someday. Sooner than we think and longer than we care to admit.
As I was restocking the chocolate syrup I heard a woman pick up a bag of 3 popcorn balls as if they were gold, frankincense or myrrh. I heard her ask herself with my back turned,
"The question is, can I keep these hidden until Christmas morning?" She had struck gold, an answered prayer, a simple gift for her Children which indeed was a profound gift to her from a Father who loves her.
I almost broke down and wept. I remember those days when I couldn't afford a simple gift from the shelves of cvs. I felt like a failure as a dad.
I wasn't. She isn't and if you are going through tough times, neither are you.
Hard times make us.
This trip started out as service to others, as something I wanted my kids to do. They have so much and their life is unlike anyone else's that I know. I want them to understand what the rest of the world is like. I want to teach them compassion, charity, love and most importantly, empathy.
I want to teach myself those things as well.
I left richer than I was when I entered and as always, my kids asked if we could do that again. Yes. On the first and third Saturday of every month this happens. Not just at Christmas.
I heard a sermon from a friend of mine this am before the family was awake. It revolved around despair. How many are suffering? Rape, death, joblessness, war, hopelessness, drugs, loneliness.
How many times have we heard "where is God? How could he allow this happen? So much suffering.!"
Let me apologize. I am just finally beginning to get it. If you know me and still ask that question "where is God?" then I have failed my God and you.
If you know me and haven't seen compassion, hope, faith, and patience than I haven't been doing my part.
Where is God?
Acting through you if you will let him.
Brightening the world through you. If people don't see Him in us than we are not active enough. If we are taking credit than we are misguided.
I saw God today.
He was picking up a bag of popcorn balls, he was taking care of his daughters baby as his own and he was bringing joy to others who can't afford every meal, just like him, wearing a red shirt and red sweat pants and a home made Santa beard he had made from yarn.
He is there every Saturday and has been for twelve years. He is a simple man who knows how to give away pallets of joy as if it just grew on trees.
Let's find our way to each other. Let's really look people in the eye when we say merry Christmas. Hold the gaze a little longer than normal to let the other person know "I see you" and that they are not invisible.
Tomorrow, I am going door to door as Santa. We have mapped out the route, checked it twice. My kids are elves. Let see who leaves with more gifts, us or those who we visit.
I am not a perfect guy. I was raised in a family that never tithed nor had enough money to give to charity. I am still learning how to be a better man, father, husband and neighbor. Perhaps you are too. May I suggest, you stop begging for answers and begin to seek miracles and as you prepare for those to happen, go be a miracle in someone else's life.
From the house over the river and through the woods, with the smoke billowing from the chimney and the brightest stars you have ever seen lighting the diamond snow in the front yard ... Goodnight America.