(This entry is updated and posted on “Escape from Averageness” every year at Christmas)
The intrepid, results-based consultant wearily settled into one of the chairs in the airport club of the airline she was flying this trip. “Oui, l’aeroport du club de la journee”, she thought to herself, looking at her watch. “Even with the weather, I should make it home without any problem.”
“Where are you headed?”, asked the man sitting in the chair beside her.
Home. Simply, home. Last week of road work this year. She was headed for a well-deserved break with her family and friends. She was looking forward to it. Her cell phone rang. It was an old friend. They talked about families, about well-being, and then about business. “How was 2011?”, he finally asked. “And – how are you, really?”
“I tell people that the fifth year of six-figure declines from personal peak income has been almost as much fun as the first four”, she laughed. It was now a tired joke. She was glad she still could laugh about it, even though she now had to count the years on her fingers to make sure it was accurate. “2011 was better than 2010; 2012 will be better still, but mostly because we are again doing more work in industry verticals outside of homebuilding.
“But, you know – in every way that really matters – I am doing very well.”
“In that case, Merry Christmas”, he said.
“Same to you”.
Her mind turned away from work. She thought about Christmas. She wondered what the tiny town of Bethlehem must have been like, so long ago. She thought about the young mother and father-to-be, who had made the trip with few resources, facing an uncertain future. She thought about their now new-born son. To everyone else, he was just another faceless child born in an insignificant city, into a world ruled by the Roman Empire.
She considered the grace, love, and mercy of the Creator of the universe, the Author of all that is good. She thought about the words of the apostle Paul, buried deep in his first letter to the small group of believers in Corinth, describing faith, hope, and love, the principles of the grace she now pondered.
“Thank you”, she prayed softly. “Thank you.
“Thank you for giving me a faith that looks back into history and trusts that the claims this child would one day make about Himself are true, and that every moment of time and event of history either points towards, or proceeds from, that truth.
“Thank you also for giving me hope; thank you for giving me a hope that understands eternity means never-ending, not just somewhere down-the-road; thank you for giving me a hope that looks forward from the perspective of the eternal life I have right now, but also understands that, one day, this world – with its share of both joy and pain, and varying degrees of fulfillment – will end, and I will live, constantly and eternally, in your presence.”
The intrepid, results-based consultant thought about the final point of gratitude, and considered how everyone viewed her as such a practical, in-the-moment realist.
“And, yes, thank you for giving me a love that does – and always will – sustain me, motivate me, and give me purpose and perspective, until either Christ returns, or until You call me home.”
The intrepid, results-based consultant thought about the events of that night, so long ago. There was a birth. There would later be a death and a resurrection. But, right now, her thoughts were about newness and life.
“And you shall call His name Immanuel.”
“God with us.”