As a Christian, I believe God has called us to see that there is good news in every bad news story.
Take, for example the basketball teams of our two primary state universities. Both have great coaches who succeeded winning coaches, and both enter each season anticipating success.
It was the first Monday after Christmas, our office was closed for the week, and I stopped by church to clean up some of my messes left after the holiday services and make a few notes for next year. I also planned to give Chris a ride to STL to refill his water buckets. Why in the world I was thinking God might be taking an extra day of rest with me now sounds ridiculous – because he certainly was not.
Immanuel is a name that has always been special to me. Monica and I grew up at Immanuel Lutheran of Frankentrost – a congregation our ancestors helped establish back in 1847. “The Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7.14)
I know that at the beginning it was a dream, but at some point – I know not when or where – I became awake. It started at a small, two-pump Marathon station way down south. I pulled in with my Trax to get some gas because I was driving on fumes. Other family members were following me in the van. I pulled up to the pump and began fueling the motorcycle I was driving. It needed less than a gallon – it was the family van that I had been driving that really needed gas.
A decade or two ago we developed the habit of decorating our home for Christmas on the day after Thanksgiving. The thought was simple – the season gets very busy, comes with its own particular pressures, and we sincerely enjoy the decorations. By doing it right away on that ‘free day’ we addressed all three of those concerns. We called it “thinking ahead.”
This year our Advent midweek gatherings at STL we are calling “Advent CHRISTMAS CAR-oling” events. Noon is indoors, but our evening version is at 7:00 in our front parking lot. And – WOW – talk about fun! Week One gave me a huge kick-start into the holiday spirit.
“Hopeless in Detroit” is a story similar to “Sleepless in Seattle”. Both are love stories that start with tragedy and despair but end with burgeoning joy. And, I believe, the Detroit story’s ending is the better of the two.
No, I do not want you to send me an Amazon gift card. To be totally truthful, I would never ask you to get something like that for me. And if, though I pray not, you did purchase one for me, it is most likely on its way to Ethiopia or Nigeria – the source of the request. Believe it or not, I have been to neither of those countries, nor any other foreign land outside of Canada.
A couple days ago I reached out to 11 members of the STL “extended family” and 7 of them got back to me. Two of the follow-ups actually included face-to-face communications. What is one to do with a .636 batting average in a time like this?
Over this past week I heard of over a half dozen individuals who tested positive with COVID. Some of them were hospitalized – a couple in ICU. I feel blessed to say that Monica and I both tested negative last week. Friends working in hospitals say that admissions for the same are up, though not at an alarming level. It appears as though the anticipated upsurge is upon us.