Last night (Sunday night), Heather and I stopped at Piggly Wiggly to pick up a few supplies for a feast of hot chocolate and Christmas cookies. We already had the essentials; we just needed a little something extra to put it over the top. While we were at the store, we decided to pick up a few extra groceries to get us through until Christmas. It was December 22nd, and we were going to have a stocked refrigerator. Of course, I didn’t think twice about how to come up with the cash for this unforeseen expense. Of course, we wouldn’t blow the budget by buying a few groceries, but even cash flow wasn’t a concern. The bank account was sufficiently stocked with money to trade out a few groceries for it. As I re-seated my Mastercard in my leather wallet, I looked out the store’s front glass and kicked myself. I had forgotten my trenchcoat at church, and it was pouring buckets. I would have to leg out those fifty miserable, watery feet to the car. I had to run for my life, but I made it. Was there any doubt, after all? After picking my wife up from the door, we drove home.
It was perfect. A chilly December evening with hot chocolate at home – you couldn’t draw a more perfect Christmas card. We gathered all the goods and started the water boiling, and then it hit. The bottom fell out of the sky. You could hear the rain like you were outside standing in it. But, I was glad. A hard rain makes a more pleasant evening inside. So, I paused for a moment and thanked God above for the shelter that I call my home. I then had to remember to thank Him for the car that allowed me to dryly travel from church to store and store to home. And, of course, I had to thank Him for the funds to buy the hot chocolate that started our whole miniature adventure.
After I finished my milliseconds of praise, I listened to the rain one more time over the whistle of the tea kettle, and it made my heart hurt. Because while I was enjoying all of these blessings, there were so many who left out in the cold (and rain). You see, I have had the privilege to preach once a month at a local rescue mission, and I have shook the dirty hand of many a homeless gentlemen who was battling some addiction, bad decision, or other sin that led them under Dillingham Bridge. I guess this regular opportunity has made me a little more sensitive to the weather than I used to be. After all, a gentle rain to us in our cieled houses feels more like a monsoon to someone sleeping on a bench. I couldn’t help but think about those men, not much different than me, sleeping in mud while I sit on my leather couch. After all, what separates me from them, but God’s unbelievable grace? Were it not for God’s divine intrusions into my life, I might find myself on the other side of those monthly handshakes.
Now, I’m not one for self-loathing, but the fact remains that if you’re reading this blog, then you’ve got it pretty good, like me. So, can I offer up an idea that Heather and I tried to do this year? How about taking a little bit of your blessing and sharing it with someone that needs a blessing this Christmas? Find an addict or a needy child or a hungry family or a complete stranger and perform a random act of kindness on them. And say a prayer for those who keep refusing God’s gift of grace to them. If Jesus is the reason for the season, then let’s honor the reason that He came: “to seek and to save that which was lost.” And, perhaps those little displays of grace can do something to help fulfill that old Christmas wish, “Merry Christmas to ALL.”