Greetings. Today is the first day of my “25 days of December” musings. I had planned to begin this blog on December 1st like I have for many years, or even on Thanksgiving as I have during some years. But this is 2020…need I say more?
I am fearful that that will be my excuse for years to come. Sometimes we just say “2020” in response to why something has happened, or something did not happen. Other times, we look at each other with a question mark seeming to appear between us and it is unspoken “2020?”
I remember other things that have happened where a quick reference to the past explained it all.
There was 2014 when we used phrases like, “It was lost in the flood” or “we haven’t found it since the flood.”
Then, after the flood clean-up was nearly done, my response to many questions was “It is packed.” We had packed so many things away in our every increasing number of storage units that, whatever you needed from me or I needed from me, was, indeed, probably packed away in a cardboard box in a metal room in a metal building behind a metal fence. Yes, “it is packed” became my excuse for so much. I need to buy a new shirt because “It is packed.” We really ought to buy more Christmas ornaments because “They are packed.” And, yes, because I had made the stupid decision to pack away our spices (not very useful when they were unpacked 5 years later), I had to buy more salt and pepper and cinnamon and so much more because “they are packed.”
There was the year that this phrase got me out of many volunteer opportunities, “I’m moving.”
And the favorite for years was “I have to work.”
There are others used in our social groups: “The grands are coming.” “I’m just beat.” “He is too tired.” “Gotta hang up, pizza guy is here.” “I cannot join you; zoom is beyond me.” “We have to shop for toilet paper.” Well, you get my point.
It is all true. But some were said to avoid doing something we could not do, or to give us an excuse to do something that we did want to do.
So, we have exactly three weeks until Christmas. Have you changed all your plans…well because you know it is “2020”? Have you already set yourself up for a dreary Christmas holiday? Are you escaping contact with the people you love because, you know, it is 2020?
Stop it!! You have time to make plans!! You can change your attitude!! You might not be all that jolly at this very moment, but you have every opportunity to improve the lives of others. (If you have to, throw those gifts across the yard!!)
Jesus told an amazing parable (or a story to make a point) about making excuses. I will end with this story and a reminder that it is NOT TOO LATE to do the right things this Christmas season…More about that tomorrow.
Jill (just one of God’s kids)
Matthew 14:12-24 (The Message)
Then He (Jesus) turned to the host. “The next time you put on a dinner, do not just invite your friends and family and rich neighbors, the kind of people who will return the favor. Invite some people who never get invited out, the misfits from the wrong side of the tracks. You will be—and experience—a blessing. They won’t be able to return the favor, but the favor will be returned—oh, how it will be returned!—at the resurrection of God’s people.”
That triggered a response from one of the guests: “How fortunate the one who gets to eat dinner in God’s kingdom!”
Jesus followed up. “Yes. For there was once a man who threw a great dinner party and invited many. When it was time for dinner, he sent out his servant to the invited guests, saying, ‘Come on in; the food’s on the table.’
“Then they all began to beg off, one after another making excuses. The first said, ‘I bought a piece of property and need to look it over. Send my regrets.’
“Another said, ‘I just bought five teams of oxen, and I really need to check them out. Send my regrets.’
“And yet another said, ‘I just got married and need to get home to my wife.’
“The servant went back and told the master what had happened. He was outraged and told the servant, ‘Quickly, get out into the city streets and alleys. Collect all who look like they need a square meal, all the misfits and homeless and wretched you can lay your hands on and bring them here.’
“The servant reported back, ‘Master, I did what you commanded—and there’s still room.’
“The master said, ‘Then go to the country roads. Whoever you find, drag them in. I want my house full! Let me tell you, not one of those originally invited is going to get so much as a bite at my dinner party.’”
p.s. There is always room at Jesus’ table. We just have to take Him up on His offer of salvation and love and mercy and then do as He asks. Got questions? Let me know, I’ve got answers!!