Friday, December 24, 2010

#291: Why I Can't Outgrow Christmas

"Nativity", Albrecht Altdorfer (1480-1538)
 I feel as if FMR needs a Christmas message. We’re not having much of a Christmas here this year. It isn’t that we don’t have anything to celebrate. It’s just that good old 2010 really took it out of us. We have plenty to Christmas about, just not much energy left to do it.

Mrs. P and I will have a quiet Yule together. No trips over the river or through the woods, much as I would love to be at Grandmother’s house, I’m just not ready for a trip that long, yet. No chestnuts roasting or otherwise. We’ll exchange gifts in the morning, (which always drives her nuts because she wants to open them on Christmas Eve. I insist on waiting. It’s the only time all year that she lets me put my foot down.) We’ll roast a turkey breast and some mushy vegetables. We’ll hold hands on the couch and watch sentimental stuff on television and love one another the best way we know how. There will be phone calls to friends and family who are far away and maybe even a surprise visitor or two. You never know what Santa may bring. We’ll spoil the cats and Jake as much as we can. There will be tears shed and laughter shared. With any luck, we’ll smile out the window while we watch it snow.

Parents have a chance to hold onto some of Christmas' wonder through their children's eyes. Because we have no children, Christmas has grown a little less magical over the years. But, I’m OK with that. I’ve always thought there’s too much magic glommed onto Christmas anyway. Especially when you think about that first Silent Night.

They must have smelled terrible. The long journey. Nowhere to wash. No fresh water but what had been poured out for the animals. No wonder the innkeeper didn’t want them inside.

And what a place to give birth. No mattress. No sheets or blankets. Just some cloth torn into strips to use for bandages and to cover the infant. An old carpenter for a midwife. A mound of straw for a bed. A feeding trough for a cradle. And the smell of dirty hay and manure hanging in the air.

Who came to see? Who cared? Nameless shepherds. Migrant workers whose hands stunk with the grease of their flocks. The child was welcomed into the world by men whose expertise was in pulling lambs out of bawling ewes. They came and saw. Maybe they even helped with the birth. And when it was finished, they disappeared back into history. None of them could write, and no one would listen to them, so their story died with them. They left the child mother and her strange, quiet husband in the straw where they found them. And the baby slept in heavenly peace.

The real miracle of Christmas, the real reason I still care, can’t help caring on this night when the stores finally turn their employees loose and the streets are empty of all but the gently falling snow. The real reason that this night is Holy is this smelly, filthy barn, in the arms of a woman who was little more than a girl, watched over by a mystified, silent father and a group of rough, ignorant farmhands. This is the place where the Creator of the universe chose to join the human race. Here amid the grease and the smell of dung, Almighty God became one of us. God from God. Light from Light. True God from True God.

The jolly fat man has his place during the season, and God bless him for it. I love the Grinch and the Drummer Boy and sweet, long-suffering George Bailey. Each of them has a role in the long Christmastide. But tonight, on Christmas Eve, when the moon shines on the breast of the new fallen snow, I don’t really care about reindeer. Tonight, there is no one for me but that baby. God stooped to conquer death that night. And for a moment, in that insignificant stable, maybe for the first time in history, there really was peace on earth. And that's reason enough to hope that it there might be peace again.

Welcome, Jesus. Life will be hard for you , but tonight, sleep.

And on Earth, Peace, Good Will Toward All

And to you, my faithful reader and friend, a Merry, Merry Christmas



  1. Bob, this was one of your best posts yet! Thank you for helping me really see the old story in a new way.

    Merry Christmas, my friend.


  2. How beautifully you paint pictures through your words. Thank you for blessing your readers, and particularly me, with this entry. I continue to pray for you and read your blog, though we have never met. I pray that you had a blessed Christmas and that your 2011 is filled with less stress, more joy, less fear, and more of the assurance that that baby, Jesus, grew into the Savior who walks with you each day. Blessings.


Label Cloud

mrs p Cancer running lifting weights LIVESTRONG at the YMCA treadmill weight nutrition depression God Living Strong at the Y injury YMCA dogs mom walking radiation Weight Lifting cardio friends program theatre body fat long slow run love One for the Five aches elliptical race resistance bands stretching 5K Acting Jeff Galloway chemo doctor family mental health Church Pittsburgh Marathon bluegrass fundraising inspiration patience personal trainer recovery Flying Pig Marathon Jesus Johns Striders Race Report Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon bipolar frustration kentucky knees measurements morning promatx yoga Christmas Marathon Pennsy's Greatest Hits cats clothes heart rate hope lance armstrong life molly poetry rest side effects steelers swimming 10K Actors' Guild of Lexington Blog CT Scan Coach Carrie PET Scan cross training exercise fear feeling good groin healing ice cream livestrong nausea powerlifting run/walk/run stair climber surgery Cancer Fighter Cold Gear Hills Iron Horse Half-marathon Job LSR Mum Nike+ Shamrock Shuffle 3K achilles advent arboretum bmi bodyweight exercises changes charity circuit training cycling dad deadlift diabetes encouragement experts give up goals horses interval training jake kettlebells lean body mass new rules of lifting pacing personal best plateau prayer recumbent bike research shoes sleep strength teeth therapist toe video Blood Easter Endurance Funeral Garmin 405 Homecoming House Insurance Juicing Keeneland Legacy Night PR Pennsyltucky Pittsburgh Relapse Run This Town TRX Training Values aflac arnold ben-gay bench press chafing christian compression shorts dentist dreams faith fat fatigue foreclosure good day half marathon hospitality javarunner john's run/walk shop lou schuler new year nurse pains peg tube powercage progressive resistance. racing rain rapture reboot runners world squat sun block supplements team pennsy tired weather will rogers work #3rightThings 9-11 ACSM AIDS Aquaphor Blessings Bluegrass 10K CSN Cancer Boy Cedar Hill Charles Dickens Class of 82 Classes Colby Road College Compassion Courage Crowdrise Cystoscopy Dee Diet EFM Epiphany Fall Fartlek Fat Man Fat Sick and Nearly Dead Frankfort Gadgets Gramma Grampa Gratitude Grete Waitz Guest HITT HIV Hell Holding Hands Holy Saturday Homer Horse Capital Marathon IVP Ice bath Jacuzzi James Taylor Jesus wept Joe Cross John Izzo Joy KY LaDonna Leg Day Lent Lessons Lexington Little Pennsy Mental hospital Midsummer Night's Run Mindfulness MobileFit Negative Splits Old Frankfort Pike Pilates Podrunner Pre-race Priorities RICE Railrunner 10 Miler Random thoughts Resurrection Reunion Run Bob Run Run Report Run Review Run for the Gold 3K Running Form Running for Sabrina STUPID Shakespeare Skip Brown Speed Spinning Summer Of Speed Sunrise Supersets Tao Te Ching Thank You The Wall Three Right Things Toxic Passenger UK UK basketball Urine Urologist Victory Walk of Shame Warrior Westminster Whole Foods Wind Words Zumba ace bandages addicted agony alwyn cosgrove america anger antibiotic anxiety awake back baseball blood clots blood pressure body glide bonhoeffer books brad calories chinup colonoscopy consistency crazy cycles dentures dip dr. google dumbbells elevation facebook failure farts feet fight for life fitness forgiveness frankenpennsy fun getting started glucosamine glutes goal gremlin grenz grumpy hair hamstrings hiccups high school hot ice incarnation indian food jogging john lennon joint legacy trail liniment lunges machines maker's mark medicine ball meds mercy motivation motley fool music nature neighborhood new balance nike noah numbers pennsyltuckian periodization persistence phlebitis postmodern prison professional boundaries progress psychiatrist pullups pushups quads ramble rememberance renewal road running ronnie coleman rowing safety sauna scan-ziety sexy shopping shorts shower sick sleepless snow socks spandex star trek statistics steam room steroids stiff strained muscle strap strength training supination support surgeon survive swackett swiss balls table technology tempo terry bradshaw testicular torsion text thai food that's fit the five thighs walk breaks warm up water fitness water jogging weak wedding ring wellness wife winter workout writing yardwork