Larry Lilly's Letter Monday December 5, 2005
In light of the hype during this season, do you ever wonder that all men everywhere have not bowed the knee to Christ? I sure do, but we all know that while this is a good time to remind/tell of Christ, most are merely shopping with little or no thought of the importance of Christ.
I read a story years ago, the gist of which went:
"A little wife of many years stood with her grown children just outside a mental ward in a hospital in a large city. Her husband was a patient there. He had a vacant look that silently stated, the lights are on, but no one is home. As he blankly stared into nowhere, she pleaded, 'Harry, here is a Christmas present for you, won’t you please take it. Unwrap it, look at it.' Harry paid no attention. It was as though he was deaf, dumb and blind. In fact due to his mental condition he was totally unaware of everything and everyone around him. He was in his own space, locked into his own mental and emotional prison, locked up tighter than any person on death row. He was helpless to acknowledge, or accept the offered gift."
The heartbreaking story is real to me as I have seen many in his condition. I am thinking of one of the little old ladies in our church as I write. If you visit her, she has no knowledge that you are there, she talks to the visitors seen by only her vacant eyes and hears the voices in her long since departed faculties. Her children weep in her presence, longing to be loved by the woman who once lived in her body.
I think of her often during this Christmas time. The shopping centers are full, the cash registers ring out the tune, 'What a Friend We Have In Jesus' and the crowds parade on by, buying, wrapping, and all the while oblivious to Christ peering over their shoulder, looking on aghast at the frivolous 'celebration' of His Advent. The stars left their orbit and settled over Bethlehem. The Angels left the realms of Glory and sang to shepherds on a Judean hillside. Shepherds left their sacred flocks and rushed to his manger, and we Christian Americans walk the malls, daft to the wonder of the Splendorous One in our midst.
Each year I dread to answer the phone when I do not recognize the number. We do all that we can sensibly do for others all year and more so at Christmas. But, overwhelmed, is not strong enough to define the pain of the season for me. People I have never heard of call and inform me that they have no money for Christmas. I tell them I will see that we bring a basket of food, at which announcement I am informed that food is not the reason for the call, but money is needed for gifts. I recall some sparse Christmases, but I never recall anyone calling anyone about this. We did thank the Lord, though we did not know Him, for His many gifts to us every day. I wish we Christians would get the message that Christ wants us and not our things. And I wish we Christians would get the message that our loved ones do not really want the junk we give, but above all they really want us. I guess that's why I love the poor shepherds who simply left their 'busy' went in their unwashed condition and loved Him.
When the true gospel of the simplicity of Christ is proclaimed during this season, I often see and feel the vacuous stares of the masses and I think I feel the contempt heaped upon me by those who only know the world into which they are trapped and unable to see, hear and feel the joy of Jesus Christ, the savior.
Larry Lilly Copyright © 2005 Use with Credit.
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