Sunday, December 25, 2011

My Christmas Feeling

It occurs to me that I have never been sick on Christmas before.  At least I can't remember a Christmas when I was THIS sick. 

Now it's no big deal.  Jim Mark told me on Monday that I had a sinus infection for which he gave me a shot in the ass and dreadfully expensive antibiotics.  That aren't working apparently.  I'm running about a half degree of fever and my throat feels as if I swallowed some steel wool.  Oh well.  If this is the worst that happens to me during the future Christmases I am allotted I will be fortunate.  Not too far from where I am sitting there are folks in the cancer center at UAMS who are spending Christmas tethered to a pole.

I will get better.  Some of them will not.

I hear church bells.  Christmas on Sunday. 

My day began with the phone buzzing with text messages and the IPad ringing with posts on Facebook.  One of Hugh's girls wished me a Merry Christmas first thing.  I imagine that this will be a hard day for them.  I wished Susannah a Merry Christmas and I told her that I loved her.  That's all I can do from over here.  Come to think of it, that is about all I could do if I were in Jackson.

I have some presents but I don't much feel like opening them.  My original plan for the morning was to go play golf at War Memorial down the street.  It is a time honored tradition that guys walk War Memorial for free on Christmas day.  I will not be in that number today.  I will be doing good to get the stuff out on the grill this afternoon.  Oh well.  It is always best to measure one's expectations at Christmas.  Christmas can be pretty overwhelming if let it. 

Last night I joined the Baptists for a little service.  I hadn't been in that old church in years.  My new golf buddy Randy Hyde is that pastor there.  I had never heard him preach before.  So I walked my Methodist self in and took an aisle seat in the middle.  Carolyn Staley, the assistant pastor there, came up to me and gave me a hug.  She told me to go sit with her husband "so you won't have to sit alone."

I was sincerely moved by that small, considerate gesture.  I live by myself.  I do lots of stuff in my own company.  It's no big deal to me.  But it was to her. 

I don't much know what I believe anymore.  And I know that much of the biblical narrative of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth does not withstand the scrutiny of history.  Christopher Hitchens pointed out once that humans existed in organized societies some 10,000 years before the Nativity.  It was his position that to believe that God would wait that long, evidently doing nothing, only to intervene in human history to impregnate a young girl in the middle of the desert is ridiculous.  It is a fair point.

But, as I have said before, there is power in myths.  And often truth is subsumed therein.  And as Dr. Hyde said last night, even in those days as it is in our present age, when the Middle East coughed the whole world heard it.  So what better place to introduce the Kingdom of God?  It is a fair point as well. 

Who knows? 

All I know is I  that enjoyed the service last night.  I felt very welcome there among my Baptist neighbors.  I enjoyed seeing my golf buddy up in the pulpit.  And it pleased me to conceive that God exists so you won't have to sit alone. 

Merry Christmas.

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