The Christmas Guitar

The Christmas Guitar

It may look like just an old flat top guitar with a cherry burst finish, nestled in green cellophane, in the window of a pawn shop. That may be what it looks like, but every musical instrument has a story. Some are celebrated, others are rarely told, and some seem to have more than one lifetime. As guitars go, this one was pretty special.

I know it wasn’t anything magical, or anything like that, but this Christmas, it made a huge difference in my life. My name is Taylor, and our story started on an old bus. I was hungry, tired, and hopeless. It was the first of December, and I didn’t care about where I was going.

My only friend was that old guitar. I strummed a few chords, and sang as the sounds from the road accompanied me. There was only a few people on the bus, but they were up front. The driver had told me he didn’t mind my playing, as long as I was quiet. You wouldn’t know it to look at me then, but I used to be somebody.

In fact, I was a college professor, even worse, I was president of a small college in Colorado. At least until the day I boarded the bus. I imagine a few people asked where I was, maybe even thought it odd, but it probably passed soon enough.

I had grabbed my first bus at the end of September, when everything went wrong. No one would recognize me now. The clean cut college president, now had a half healed broken leg, and a black beard with a little gray in it.

About dark, the bus pulled to a stop. I gingerly carried it as I hobbled out quickly. I walked from the bus stop, not really anxious to get somewhere.

About a mile later, me, it, and my partially healed leg were ready to stop walking. I sat down off the road to catch my breath. A semi stopped and asked me where I was going.

“Anywhere really.” I said, too tired to walk any more, I didn’t care where I went. “Ok, you can ride for a while.”

We rode for about twenty miles, and then he pulled off by a small diner. “Come on friend. I’m hungry, you look like you are, and I hate to eat alone.” I was too starved to argue.

We both had a roast beef sandwich and a cup of potato soup. The coffee was good, and the apple pie went with it well. I looked at this stranger with appreciation, and curiosity, and said thank you.

He smiled. “What you really want to say is why. Why ask someone you don’t know, toting a guitar, to ride? Let’s just say I’ve walked that same road a time or two, and I prefer to ride. My name’s Wes Atkins.”

“You can call me Taylor. I’m grateful to you. I wasn’t feeling up to going any further on foot. What can I do to repay you?” He smiled, paused, and looked out the window.

“You can tell me a story, and then sing a lady a song. After that we’re even. Sound ok?” I nodded, thinking I didn’t have anything to lose.

“What story do you want to hear?” He gave me a deadpan look, and I swallowed hard. “Why do you want to know that story?”

He laughed. “Now you’re stalling. Remember you agreed. Let’s have the story now, the song will come later.”

It took me a minute, but I sighed, and began a version of my story. “I was pretty successful, and had just got a promotion a few months ago. There was this project that I stuck my neck out for. It went badly, and I left. Now here I am.”

I figured he would get angry, since I had purposely left a lot out. He didn’t, just shook his head, drank his coffee, and headed for the door. I didn’t immediately follow, until he looked back. “You coming?”

I grabbed my guitar and followed. Then as he paid the bill, before walking out, he said. “You still owe me a song.”

We got back in the semi, and drove all night. The next morning he pulled in to a truck stop. “I’ve got to catch some shut eye. You should too. We’ve got a long road to go.”

Like I said, I didn’t care where I went, so I listened. My guess was he was a lonely old man, and liked the company. We rode for days, and he never once asked me about my past again.

We did talk about a lot of other things. Wes was pretty smart. He even knew a little Shakespeare. He had a way of drawing out my opinions on things.

He was easy to like, and we became friends. Wes talked about his wife, his kids, and his grandkids. One day he asked me if I ever had a girl of my own. I muttered something. I wasn’t even sure myself what I had said.

I know what I didn’t do. I didn’t go into any details, I wasn’t about too. Wes was nice, but that door was closed, and I would not reopen it, it was too painful. Instead I told happy stories, sang happy songs, and lied deeply to myself.

About a week into my trip, we crossed a line I didn’t care for. It was the Kansas state line. That meant we were one state away from the place I said I’d never go back too. Wes and I almost parted ways that morning.

He could tell I was edgy, but he didn’t push it. “If you have other plans I understand. I hate to finish the rest of the trip alone, but if you need to go, it’s ok. Of course, you still owe me a song for a lady.”

“About that, you never told me who the lady was, or what song to sing? I may not even know the words.” He didn’t respond to my excuses, Wes just waited. Finally, I gave in, sighed, and said I’d stay.

By that evening I had settled down, and things were back to normal. We pulled in to another truck stop, and everyone greeted him. He seemed to be almost a fixture to everyone there.

He smiled at me and explained. “I’ve spent a lot of my life in truck stops, especially this one. One winter’s night, it was pretty important.”

We both had a surprisingly good cup of coffee in our hands, and I was in a mood for a story that wasn’t about me, so I smiled and nodded. A storyteller doesn’t need a lot of encouragement.

“I was a young man, and we had just had our first a child about a month before. I hated leaving, but there were doctor bills to pay, and it was winter time. It had started out as a mild winter, but just about twenty miles from here, that changed in a hurry.”

“The first few miles it was mostly snow, when I was a little ways out, but the stop was in sight. I hit a patch of ice. Thankfully that day, there weren’t other crazy people on the road, just me. I tried every trick I knew, but she wasn’t about to stop.”

“This is usually the part of the story where people will tell you that they had tried everything else, and said a quick prayer, but son, I was praying all the way. I had never been a fan of pot holes, and I don’t particularly care for them today, but that day, I was mighty happy to hit one.”

“As near as we could figure later, the pavement there gave way about the time my tire hit it, breaking the ice above it. That one little break, gave me the few seconds I needed to regain control of the semi. I skidded to a stop, but it was a safe one.”

“I got out of that truck, never wanting to get back into one again. An for the next 24 hours I didn’t. I holed up here to frightened to leave. That’s how me and Pete there became friends. He owns it now, but he just worked there then.”

A storyteller isn’t finished when he pauses, he’s just waiting to see if you’re ready for more. Of course I was. Fear was something that I understood.

He poured a little more coffee from the carafe the waitress had left, and continued. “That next day, I called my Wife to tell her I was going to find another line of work. Before I did, I asked her how she was, and how the baby was.”

“She said Lil Bit hadn’t slept through the night, and she was afraid she had a touch of colic. It turned out to just be a cold, but I didn’t know it then. All I knew was my Wife was tired, and my baby was sick. I didn’t have time to look for something new, or better, at least not if it meant being unemployed.”

“I could find another job, but I couldn’t do it without the one I had. So I said goodbye to Pete, spoke another quick prayer, and got back on the truck, still scared to death. It took about a month before I got over it, and about three months before I could think about it without being scared.”

“It probably makes me sound like a coward, but it’s the way I felt. For the first few trips, I actually avoided this place. I didn’t like to be reminded of what almost happened, or how afraid I was.”

This time, I thought he’d never finish that last drink of coffee and go on. Finally I had to know. “What made you go back? There are other stops near here. Was the coffee that good, or are the other stop’s food that bad.”

He laughed. “Yes on both counts, but it wasn’t that. Stopping here made my route shorter, which meant less time a way on a trip. Which meant I got to spend more time with my family. Plus, I liked the people here.”

“People are important, and on the road, there are a lot of unfriendly faces. You learn to appreciate the welcoming ones. They aren’t always around.”

He seemed to sense that my edginess was on the verge of coming back, so he changed the subject. “I think I’ll call my Wife and check on her. You finish your pie, I’m going to head back to the truck and turn in.”

I finished it, and thought of what I had left behind. It wasn’t a Wife and kids. It was the promise of something that I felt I had let down. Everything I had tried, all my plans, had went south.

My intentions were to get as far from them as I could. Now it looked like we were headed back that way. That’s when it hit me, I had never asked Wes where we were going. I was going to when I got back to the truck, but he was already asleep.

So I figured it would keep until the morning, and tried to go to sleep myself. I tossed and turned a lot, but eventually made it. It would have been better if I hadn’t.

I had nightmares about all the people I had disappointed, and all the hopes that I had dashed. By four am, I was up, and I was heading towards the door of the truck. Wes spoke from behind me.

“I’m not going to stop you, or to tell you about running. You’ve probably heard it, and it would sound trivial, but I would like to ask you a question. If you’ll let me?”

I sighed like a pouting child, turned around, and told him to go ahead. He wasn’t interested in my attitude, he just ignored it.

“What do you think hurt the people you walked out on most, the thing you did, or the fact that you left?” He didn’t ask it in a judgmental way, but it stung. I wanted to run, but I couldn’t. Memories of faces stopped me.

I just stood there a few minutes, and so did he. Finally I slumped into the passenger’s seat, and he started the rig. We went a few miles, then I started talking.

“How did you know I was running from something?” I smiled, only half way joking. “You weren’t tracking me were you?” He laughed, and shook his head.

“No son, I’m a Granddad. I’ve seen scared in three generations. In the mirror, in my kids, and in my Grandkids. I never saw it in my Dad, although he told me once how scared he had been in the army.”

“Matter of fact, he told me after he heard me telling a version of what had happened to me, minus the embarrassing parts. No, I didn’t know who you were at first.”

He said it with kind eyes, but I was trying to understand what he meant. “Please don’t tell me it’s already on the internet. I mean, probably the local paper, but not everywhere.”

“It might be, I don’t know. You don’t know me, and that’s fine, but I mentioned I’m a Dad and Grandad. A few days in, I got a call from my youngest daughter. She lives in a little town in Colorado, and she told me about what was going on there. I put two and two together, and wouldn’t you know, they still make four.”

I feigned anger. “So you thought you’d make it your business to take me back? It’s nobody’s business …”

His look stopped me. It wasn’t stern, but it had authority behind that smile. “I’m not taking you anywhere. She lives there, I live in a town near there. I’m going where I always said I was.”

“You can meet my Wife, and most of the family. If you want to meet the rest, you’ve got to travel that road. You see, the last few miles are always the hardest. A man needs the help with the first few hundred, but those last few, you’ve got to choose to go those for yourself.”

I just looked at him, and then out the window. The next morning, I wanted to talk, but wasn’t brave enough to try. He pulled off at another stop right across the Colorado line.

“I asked you to play a lady a song. The lady is in there, and she needs a good one. It might surprise you to know, you weren’t the reason for this trip. I’ve been retired for a year now, too old for this, but that lady in there, she needed help.”

“So I volunteered, me and my eighteen wheeled friends here, figured we could make one more trip together. We’ve made a lot, the three of us. My truck, my trailer, and me, but I gave them to my second youngest husband last year.”

“He’s going to be ok, but it will take a little while. A few months back, Andrew was in the local bank. He was going to make a deposit. The guy behind him was going to make a withdrawal, and not the right way.”

“Andrew could have just let the man rob the bank, but he didn’t. He stopped the man, and ended up with two bullets in him. The doctor said no work for six months to a year. They had sunk everything they had into the business, and I couldn’t let them fail. So, I volunteered to make this run for them.”

“He should be well enough to make the next trip, but they couldn’t miss this one. Abby is pretty down. She tells herself it’s going to be okay, but she doesn’t quite believe.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “How is a song going to make a difference? Wes, I like you, but things aren’t that easy. I can’t just waltz in there, sing a few words, and make it better. I don’t know if Sinatra could do that.”

For the first time, Wes got angry. “That’s the trouble with a lot of folks any more. They think because they don’t know everything, that nothing will work. Half the people who achieved great things in this world only knew one or two things, but they were sure of them.”

“Churchill was sure that he had to stop Hitler, even if he didn’t know how. Reagan was sure the wall had to come down, even if it looked impossible. It might interest you to know, it’s not about you, or the song itself, it’s about a promise.”

“I don’t have time to explain, I just need you to go in, and sing a song. One song, and then you can do whatever you want, but we made a deal. Can you honor a deal Mr College President? Can you do that?”

I still didn’t understand, but the last two sentences had hit a chord, and he knew it. I was so angry I fought back tears, at least I told myself it was anger. “What song?”

He sighed, calmed down, and said another something weird. “You pick it. Just make sure it’s a Christmas song, and even if you have to sing it twice, that it’s at least three minutes long.”

There wasn’t any question for me what I was going to play. It had been written with a guitar I believe, because the organ had been broken at the time. I only wondered if I could calm down enough to sing Silent Night the right way.

I knew how to play it, so I grabbed my old friend. When I walked in the stop, it wasn’t as nice as some we’d been in, but it was clean. There was a little stage sat up, with a stool, and a microphone.

Apparently they had been waiting for me. When I walked in with Wes I saw the resemblance as I crossed the floor to the stage. She had tears in her eyes. Her husband, who looked as angry as I had been, sat at a table with a cane.

I pulled a pick from my pocket, adjusted the mike, and started to sing. The clock above the window ticked away, and I was mentally counting the time. At about two minutes in, Wes walked over to Andrew, leaned down, and whispered something in his ear. All while placing something in his hand.

His eyes got very big, and he stared at Wes for a moment, then he broke. Through tears, he looked at his Wife, and struggled to stand. She started to rush to him, but Wes stopped her with a look.

He made it to his feet, and he and the cane made it to her. A gentle kiss, a hug, and two smiles. As the song ended, Wes poured us all some coffee, and started slicing the coconut cake that was in the glass case.

“Abby always loved coconut cake. It was her favorite, and still is. What did the doctor say Andrew?”

The man looked totally different somehow, kindness seems to take a few years off that anger puts on. “He says maybe three more months, but I’ll get there sir, I promise.”

Wes laughed. “I always knew you would. I didn’t volunteer because I didn’t have confidence in you. I did it because everyone, even a man, needs help sometimes. Me, Comet, and Cupid can still make the trip.”

I blinked. “Now I know I either need hearing aids, or to wake up. What did you say?”

Abby laughed. “When we were kids, I got the crazy idea that Dad was Santa Claus. Probably because he was the only one I had told about the gift that was marked “Santa” for my third birthday. Ever since then he joked that his semi was as fast as Comet, and the trailer always followed Comet, so that made her Cupid.”

“Dad made us a promise. That he would be back in time for the payment on the truck stop. We bought it, before all of this, as a backup to the truck. So Andrew wouldn’t have to spend too much time on the road.”

Andrew finished her story. “He said that he would be back, with the check, and a song, and some Christmas cheer. I didn’t believe any of it, but he did it. Him, that big red semi, and apparently a new friend.”

I laughed. “I think that makes me an elf. What do you say Santa?”

Wes never missed a thing. “Nope, too tall. Besides, you wouldn’t look good in green.” We talked with them for a few hours, and then Wes gathered his gear out of “Comet”, and said goodbye.

First to his family, and then, to “his team”. When we got in his old pickup I made a joke. “What this one’s name, Donner?”

HIs response, “No, Blitzen. We call the Cadillac Rudolph.” I just laughed. There was something he hadn’t explained, and I was curious. “Wes, why three minutes?”

He glanced at me. “How did you brake your leg?” I hung my head in shame, “Catching the first bus in September. I was late, and almost didn’t make it. It hurt, but not as bad as leaving people did.”

He nodded. “Your leg needed time to heal, just like the pain over what happened. You had to deal with it gradually, so did Andrew. He had to realize I wasn’t helping him out of pride or pity. He was angry that he couldn’t fix it, and had been short with himself, Abby, and everyone else.”

“At the right minute, I handed the check over that we picked up yesterday, and gave him a message. It did the trick, and no, the message was between him and me, but it reassured him that we respected and loved him, not just Abby.”

I thought a lot about it til we arrived at his house. Mrs. Atkins was a lovely woman, and so were the two twin boys, Eric and Michael. We all had dinner, and went to bed.

The next morning, it was snowing as we sat down to breakfast. “So tell me Mrs. Atkins, I know you have another daughter, what’s her name?” I thought she didn’t hear me at the time, so I repeated.

She motioned over her shoulder as she lifted the pancakes out of the pan. “Her picture is on the piano, it’s Katherine.” I had stood up when she said picture, and was halfway to the piano, when I stopped cold at the name.

I told myself it all made sense, but I still couldn’t believe it. Wes had just walked in with some firewood when he saw what was happening. I looked at her, then at him, and then started walking towards the door.

“Which direction are you heading? If you’re going East, you’ll need the guitar. If you’re going west, the memories will just get in your way.”

I just grinned as I held out my hand. “Keys please Mr. Claus?” He gave me a set, I grabbed the guitar, and followed the directions Mrs. Atkins told me quickly from the kitchen.

I pulled in to Wildwood Colorado thirty minutes later. The snow slowed me down. I passed what had been Gretsch college, and I headed to the local library where Katherine still worked. I didn’t know what would happen, and I expected anything.

The main desk was on one end of the library, I went in through the other door. My nerves were yelling at me that I was crazy, and I was afraid I’d botch any speech I tried. So I thought, maybe sisters do think and act like one person.

I found a chair, and started to play. This time, I thought, I have to make enough noise to get the attention of the head librarian. Go Tell It On The Mountain could be loud, so I started playing.

Anger was on her face as she turned the corner, and then realization. I didn’t expect a smile, and was just thankful there wasn’t a scowl. She let me finish the song, but didn’t clap, not that I expected it.

I stood up, and walked slowly towards her, hoping she wouldn’t turn away. My mind was racing for the words to say, and they weren’t coming. Finally, I went for pathetic. “How much for a library card?”

She looked at the guitar, then at me. “For the guitar seven dollars. For you a thousand.”

I whispered I’d be glad to pay it, but it might take a lifetime. She said something about was I sure I didn’t have a bus to catch. I deserved that.

“I can catch another bus if you want me too.” She looked at me with a mixture of emotions. “I never wanted you to leave, now, how can I be sure you’re going to stay?”

I took her hand. “I don’t travel away from home without my guitar. If I sell it, I’ll never leave.”

She looked at me like I was crazy, and I pulled her outside. “Where are we going?” I pointed to the pawn shop down the road, and she got in the car.

I pawned it, and tore up the ticket. The pawn shop guy just looked at me, as he placed it in the window. She looked at me. “This doesn’t fix everything, but it’s a start.”

“I told her that was all I needed, and kissed her. Today is Christmas Eve, and you probably still have a ton of questions. This is where you came in, and asked me why I was staring at that old guitar in the window.”

“You tell a good story stranger, but you left a lot out. What happened at the college? What made you leave her to start with?”

“The college was scheduled to close two years ago. I was a new professor at it. I had went to school there. It was a small college, and never had made a lot of money, but it was really in the hole. The board of trustees were ready to cut their losses and close it then.”

“I see, but you convinced them to let you try and save it. I take it things didn’t work out? Was that why you left?”

“It wasn’t just that the funds weren’t there, or that the college was going to close. I had convinced the faculty, and everyone involved to invest in the college’s future. I was so sure it would succeed, that I ignored all the signs that it couldn’t.”

“Katherine put her life savings into the place, and I had cost her that. There’s a businessman in town, a successful one, John Martin. He was in love with her too. I figured if I was out of the picture, he could provide for her where I couldn’t.”

“I sold everything I had, cashed in what little nest egg that I hadn’t already sunk into the college, and had my secretary parse it out to the people who had relied on me. She gave it to them, along with a letter of apology.”

“I took enough to get bus fare, and food, and left. I figured I would only be a painful reminder of a broken dream. I couldn’t bear that, so I left, hoping they’d forget I was ever here to start with.”

The little man in a green coat with smiling green eyes, and white hair looked at me. “Are you glad you’re back?” Then I showed him the ring.

“They’ve got an awful lot of neat things in that pawn shop. It’s a cheap engagement ring, but we’ll make it work. Until Andrew is healed up, I’m going to run the rig, and split the profits.”

“It will keep Katherine and I going, and them, and eventually, maybe we can reopen the college. Either way, we’ll get by, as long as we’re together.”

The man pointed at the window. “It looks like someone just bought your guitar young man. Are you okay with it being gone? It seems it’s quite an instrument.”

“Yeah, I’ll miss it, but it’s worth it. Sometimes you have to give up something, to get something even more valuable. Although I’ll always be grateful for that instrument.”

The man smiled and looked over my shoulder to someone behind me. “You said you’d never leave home without it. I can’t have my husband to be lying.”

It was Katherine, and there was a little green cellophane in her hand, along with something else. My fiancé almost dropped both when I held, and kissed her. She didn’t though, and from then on, I never let either of them go, her, or my Christmas Guitar.

Every New Cup Of Coffee

Every new cup of Coffee to a Coffee drinker celebrates Christmas, Thanksgiving, and your birthday.  This was the bottom of my coffee container this week, and that shape wasn’t planned.

PruittWrites November And December

In the next two months a lot is happening at and on our Amazon page. In November, we’ll be sharing the free Thanksgiving story “A Turkey Flew Over Pittsburgh” as a side dish to your holiday. As well as “Burnt Sweet Potato Pie”.

For Christmas in December, they’re going to be several gifts from us to you. Including “The Christmas Guitar”, “Christmas In Triage “, and “Christmas LEDs”. Along with various Christmas Watercolors and iPaintings.

In conjunction with our Amazon release of our Bible Study, The Native in paperback and eBook, we’ll be sharing excerpts from the book. This is a very special book to us, both the content and the paintings. Each was specifically created for the book, in Watercolor, iPaintings, and Acrylic.

Along with it, every PruittWrites Christmas story from the past four years is available in paperback in PruittWrites Snow Days. There are also eBook versions of L.O.C. And Key, Scarfed, and Captain Christmas. There are also the children’s picture books, Jesus Is Born, and The Christmas Lion.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are so very special to us, we want to share our gifts with you this holiday season. Whether it’s while you’re roasting the turkey, or baking Christmas cookies, we hope you’ll take time to enjoy what PruittWrites.

It Doesn’t Have To End

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Wikimedia Commons Image

Matthew 2:23
And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene

It doesn’t have to end you know. Oh sure, the torn paper will get thrown away, and the tree will come down, but those are just outward things. Christmas, that feeling of awe and wonder, doesn’t have to end.

I know it seems hard to hold on to in this mundane world, filled with trials. You go into survival mode just to get through the week. Mary and Joseph understood it, not long after Christ’s birth, they were fleeing to Egypt.

It’s very easy to allow the constant beat of life’s drum to drown out the wonderful things. It’s a very human thing for you and I to do. However, even, while struggling to survive, The Wonderful One’s heart was beating in Mary’s arms. We don’t have to rely only on ourselves, Emmanuel, God is us!

That renewed sense of hope, that smile, that joy at Christ’s gift to us all, hold it tightly in your chest. Christ’s heart now sets the pace of our own, no matter what we face, it can’t be silenced.

The little drummer boy is more than a Carol, it’s a battle cry. A young drummer used to go out with an army into the heat of the battle. Whether life’s chaos, or Christ’s Quiet assurance, both armies had drummer’s, we get to choose which pace we follow.

Jesus knows the problems we face, and how very real they are. He spent thirty years in obscurity, facing the mundane in Nazareth daily. The Lord also knows though, how very real the hope of the next life is. He secured it for us on Calvary through a cross and an empty tomb.

God was wrapped in flesh to die for us, they tried to throw away the wrapping then as well. The trouble was, He came back, scarred for you and I, but whole. He kept them as a witness of His love. The lights on our fake evergreen may be unplugged, but The Tree Of Light will never be extinguished.

So don’t look at today as the day after, or even starting the countdown to the next. Look at it as an extension of the joy, the awe, and the wonder of Christmas. For the real present is that He is ever with us, and we’re just a heartbeat away from seeing His face!

Being Interpreted


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Wikimedia Commons Image

Matthew 1:23
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

“Being interpreted …”, we brush past those words because of the phrase that follows, “God with us.” Who can blame us? Those three so powerful words are enough to captivate the soul! I submit to you today, on Christmas Day, that the ones leading up to it are just as powerful.

Interpret means more than to explain the meaning of something. It also means to translate orally or into sign language the words of a person speaking a different language. We spoke a different language than He did.

Ours was a dialect of dirt, sin, dust, and ashes. His was a conversation of the Heavens, perfection, and the stars. How could we understand Him? The only way, was an interpreter.

God, wrapped in flesh, to interpret His will to us. Jesus did this by living each day, sinless, in a sinful world. He did this by ministering to a flawed people. Most of all, He accomplished it by dying for His creation.

The third meaning of interpret is to
perform a dramatic role or piece of music in a particular way that conveys one’s understanding of the creator’s ideas. He knew that we could only comprehend The Master’s love through the music that was His life.

Like a performance, it began softly, on a dark night in David’s town. We watched Him grow as He sat in the Temple, opening men’s eyes, while still a boy Himself. We saw the impact of His ministry, the miracles yes, but more than that, Christ’s message. Man could lift their head above the dirt, higher than this plain of sin and mortality.

The climax of the piece was Calvary. Did you know that the words being interpreted are also in Mark and John? In John it appears, being interpreted Master and Christ. He explained what it meant to trust in Him. In Mark, it refers to Golgotha, being interpreted, the place of the skull. He explained that death didn’t have to be final.

Most commentators believe that the stable was in a cave. That means His life began in a cave, and returned to a cave in death. Of course, three days later, He left it never to return! The point is, God, the speaker of the Heavenly, came to the most Earthbound thing on the planet to communicate with us.

At His birth, and in His life, He interpreted God to man. In His death, He interpreted Salvation to sinners, and translated our sufferings. God knew how it felt to be forsaken so that we would never be alone.

He spoke our language so that we could learn His. He cried so that we could laugh. He died so that we would be free of death, and was born so that we could be born again.

On this Christmas Day, “God with us” is Awesome. Still “being interpreted”, God walking our world so we could fly to His, is pretty incredible too!


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Wikimedia Commons Image

Isaiah 7:14
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

“I wonder what color it will be?” “Did they get the one I circled, with the special features?” Anticipation, it’s happening all across the globe this Christmas. It means to regard as probable, to expect, or predict.

It’s a word that contains so many others, faith, excitement, hope, and waiting. It’s the expectation of what we’ve been waiting for. To a child at Christmas, it might be a bicycle, to Isaiah, it was a baby.

An old man puts down his quill to day dream. He’s just, under God’s anointing, written his seventh chapter. In Isaiah’s mind, he travels to his anticipated day. He imagines meeting Christ and hoping for the real event.

David, and those before, Abraham, Moses, and Jacob longed to see Him. They anticipated, they believed, they expected. “He will be born… He will accomplish… He will fulfill!” They faced trials, battles, and all out war, but the anticipation kept them going.

We get to read about Him, Christ’s birth, His Nativity. What prophets and kings would pay to know, are passages we’ve committed to memory. In the midst of the turmoil of your season, don’t allow it to steal your anticipation. The expectancy of hope that is Christmas is more than wrapped gifts under a tree.

You may ask, what is there to anticipate for us, this side of Bethlehem? We’ve seen the Angels, read about the wise men, and watched the flight to Egypt. What is left to anticipate? The fact that, every morning not just on Christmas morning, it is real again to us. The heartbeat that filled the stable, now beats within a Christian’s heart!

Christ is born, Hallelujah, Christ is born in us! It’s the anticipation that He still is patient, still is forgiving, and still is kind. He cradles us the way Mary cradled Him. We get to expect His mercy, though not take it for granted. Oh better still, we get to expect to see Him!

It may sound old fashioned, and out of date, but it is still true. Many doubted Isaiah’s prophecy, but He was still wrapped in swaddling clothes. They mocked Christ when He said He would give His life and rise again, until He did. As surely as the manger was filled, and the tomb was emptied, The Lord Jesus is coming.

This Christmas Eve, as you anticipate tomorrow’s gifts, and the new year beyond, take some time. Anticipate what it will be like to bow at His feet, not at a manger, but a throne. Whether as a cooing child, or a loving King, all sorrows end at The Master’s feet. An until that day, we can kneel in prayer, anticipating, expecting, and finding Him there.

Awe At Hope

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Wikimedia Commons Image

Joy fills the night
Awe at hope, now instant
Day is born in moonlight
Life Eternal, a small infant
Mary cradles our dreams
Joseph guards a Heavenly gift
From Herod’s twisted evil screams

Their lives will now be swift
Israel to Egypt, and back again
Bethlehem, Nazareth, Jerusalem,
Christ’s climactic battle with sin,
God, man, and wrongs will meet,
Soul’s rescued gladly kneel,
Death conquered at Mercy’s feet

Joy fills our night
We awe at hope eternal
Heaven in our mind’s sight
Mary’s Child now internal
Our hope on Heart’s throne
Shining, Guiding, and calling,
Each of us now His own!

Wonder At our Present

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Wikimedia Commons Image

Matthew 21:15

And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased,

The word is Wonder, or as they said in Old English Wundor. I like Wundor. Wonder is both a noun and a verb. As a noun it means “a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.” Today I’m thinking of course, of the wonder of Christmas.

As a verb, it means to “feel admiration and amazement; to marvel.” A child this week knows what it means, even if they don’t know how to put it into words. It’s the day before, the day before, the day before Christmas. The very thought of it is wonderful to them.

We adults though, we’re jaded. We say things like “It’s too commercial.” “It’s become too much about this or that …” I’m not here to defend what some have allowed it to be, I come instead with hope. Individually, we don’t have to celebrate what others have made it.

You and I can still wonder at Christmas, irregardless of how others see it. Our celebration doesn’t revolve around neon lights and cash registers, it centers on The One in the manger. We can still approach it with the excitement of a child!

Yes, little ones are excited about a gift. If we adults were that way, we’d be afraid of being called shallow. The truth is, we should most definitely be excited about a gift. The gift of Christ!

It is that precious gift that kept Adam’s heart beating. The realization of the promise of Abraham, the dream of Joseph, and the hope of David. He is Isaiah’s Wonderful Child!

Yes, we should wonder at Christmas! Whether you like the lights, the tree, and the cookies or not, personally I do, all can agree on this. We can all return to kneel beside a manger, where God crossed Eternity to save us. The Creator Of Light now swaddled as an infant.

Wonder of wonders, Jesus is born, not only in a messy stable, but in messy hearts. The stable was no accident, it was planned. He was saying, “I Am here to clean up your mess. I’m here to swaddle you as you’re born again, not of this world, but of the one to come.”

Jesus was telling us that our mess is not greater than His mercy. That night changed everything for all mankind. An even though He was most likely not born in December, we celebrate it on that day, and hopefully every day.

So, get excited, dream, even giggle like a child on Christmas morning. Let us wonder at our present, in two ways. Both in the gift of Christ, and the gift of our present condition. We are not yet what we should be, but we are no longer the things we used to be.

Let us wonder at His love, honor His sacrifice, and rejoice at the promise of His soon return! It’s almost here! Get ready, and smile, it’s the day before, the day before, the day before Christmas!

The Baby Prince

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Wikimedia Commons Image

Years ago, before Christ was born,
Still both children, moon and sun,
The earth was new, and smiles were worn,
God and man laughed together, rejoicing, having fun,
Until sickness and sadness slipped in,
Man opened the door to a trickster called sin.

It caused man a mighty fall,
God and man’s relationship breached,
Because of sin’s fast constructed, evil wall,
Our Lord established the journey He’d reach,
Finding the road To rescue His friend,
Never quitting, always working, He would defend.

The vow to lonely ears He gave,
Whispering to everyone that did pray,
Victory over sin, death, and the grave,
God would make a way,
The promise reaching man did sound,
A Prince will come, and joy abound.

In a stable, God slipped into the cave,
Spanning the wall, and entering the globe,
He’d walk the path to free sin’s slaves,
Not as a towering God with a royal robe,
His people, He came to call,
But as a swaddled Babe, a Savior for all.

There on Bethlehem’s starry plain,
Filled with joy, both God and man,
Joined by an Angel’s refrain,
They laughed together, hand in hand,
And like a clock Sin did know,
It’s days, just numbered grains of sand,
The Baby Prince would grow.

On that night Christmas was born,
It’s greatest gift, The Baby’s cry,
But far better was that glorious morn,
The day The Prince climbed sin’s hill,
Jesus’ silenced evil with a victorious sigh,
Toppled it’s wall, and brought man nigh.

Now, though the sun is old,
The moon no longer young,
When Sin tries to scare with lies so bold,
A tune is heard, a song is sung,
Men are new, Christ has won,
We laugh together, rejoicing, and having fun.

Christmas Fun

Christmas is a time for celebration, for laughter and joy. It’s a time for little, even silly things, that make someone very special in our lives ver happy. It’s in that vein that I share a poem that was written to make my Wife smile.

The Cat Meets The Doctor

A visitor arrived in Whoville,
He had a companion we named Lil,
He helped the Cat in the Hat,
They fought a robot that sat,
It was green like the grinch,
With no hands to fight or pinch,
Just a long metal nose,
That shot out worry and woes,
All the citizens of Who hid,
Inside a blue box with a lid,
While cat, Lil, and friend,
Fought to the happy end.
The cat used a wobbly trocks,
While his friend opened all the locks,
With a screwdriver that glowed,
Each machine did explode,
Quieting all gurgling sounds,
No more villains around,
The Dr as he was known,
Shook hands with Mayor Reloan,
Boarded his Tardis ship,
Kissed Lil on the lips,
Of course he called her Rose,
Leaving the Cat in Hat and all Who’s in safe repose.