Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…

What great excitement filled the Lindus household in the 1960’s when the Sears catalog arrived in the mail. Pen in hand, my sister, my brother, and I would take turns thumbing through the most amazing array of toys, gadgets, and clothes. We would circle items, placing them on our Christmas wish list. Our names would be scribbled close by hoping that Santa or Grandma would make our Christmas wishes come true.

On Christmas Eve we would gather for an early dinner featuring assorted fondues and oyster stew. The children would then be sequestered in the basement. There would be lots of noise upstairs, the floor would shake, and we could hear Santa laughing as he cried out, “Merry Christmas.” Once the “all clear” was signaled, my siblings and cousins would bound up the stairs toward the Christmas tree. Like magic — the scene had changed. It looked like an entire sleigh had crashed into my grandmother’s meticulously decorated tree. There were more wrapped presents than a Toys for Tots warehouse.

The kids cried for joy at wishes granted, or cried in despair for the gift that did not arrive, or the perceived better deal that a sibling received. The adults gorged themselves with tasty Christmas pies and too much alcohol as a cloud of cigarette smoke filled the air. Then it was off to church to listen to a boring sermon as our new toys sat silently, waiting for our return.

Sears catalogs are mostly gone now; the internet has taken its place. The Amazon delivery person has become the modern-day equivalent of Santa, showing up so often that I know his name, his children’s names, and his astrological sign. Children still wait for Christmas to arrive, wish lists are still made, but the connection to anything religious is mostly an afterthought.

There is not a single physical item on my wish list this year, certainly nothing that the Amazon delivery truck could bring me. There is nothing I need. I can do without the Metaverse, and the I-Phone I have works fine. Good Housekeeping has a list of the 35 most popular Christmas gifts for adults in 2022. I checked it out, and I don’t need a single one of them.

My list cannot be purchased online or at the store. I wish for peace in Eastern Europe, tolerance in our changing society, humility among Christians, hospitality for immigrants, happiness for my children and opportunity for my grandchildren, for elected officials that care more about people than reelection.

My Christmas wish is that we might once again see our interconnectedness, working together for the common good, renewing interest in service clubs and churches that together we might weave a diverse American tapestry.

My wish is that the people of God might wake up each morning with a sense of meaning and purpose believing that they are called to ministry and service.
It was much easier being a kid, circling toys on colored catalog pages and waiting for Christmas.

I believe in Christmas. I believe that we can make a difference in a rapidly changing world. I hope that you will join me.

One day closer,

Pastor Jim

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