I don't think I have ever celebrated a Christmas quite like this one. Tara went off to work. Dewayne and Christa are at home. John and Laura are in Luray or in Alabama--not sure which. Josh and Chara are with his folks in Colorado. Jackie and I are playing Christmas music and enjoying a leisurely breakfast. We each opened one gift, along with Tara. Our big day will be Saturday.
Having grown up in large families (six kids on each side) and having had no small household ourselves (4 children--add the in-laws and Haydn and we have ten. If we include the one in the oven--John and Laura's, that makes eleven), we felt strange to be alone for Christmas. After while, Tara will come back from work; and Dewayne and Christa will be over for the evening. Tara and I talked about going bowling. At noon, Jackie and I are volunteering to help serve at NHC, where Tara works. They are short one server for the noon meal. It will be fun.
Jackie made up a plate for Mr. Egolf, and I'll take it by later today. Mrs. Egolf died last spring. He is such a good friend to us; we miss her.
For many years we have traveled to Oklahoma for the holidays. We had some talk of it again this year, but things have changed for us this year. Home is now in Franklin, Tennessee, though there are pieces of our hearts forever given to our families back home.
I was really happy the Sooners won the Big-12 Championship this year and are playing in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale. It's not the national championship but we are playing an undefeated team in Boise State. BTW, if you want to know how great the Sooners really are, go to soonersports.com and check out the Quick Facts. OU holds eight #1 in the nation records, including the most points scored by any college football team ever. For those of you who don't know, my mother lives 1/2 mile from the OU campus in Norman. (I'm wearing my Sooners sweatshirt as I write this.)
What I wish for Christmas? I wish people would take a very long look at Jesus and care. I wish they would care morally, spiritually, and practically. I wish America could return to its gospel roots. I wish people would listen closely enough to God (instead of culture) that they would begin to worship Him rather than make themselves the focus. I wish people could make a distinction between worship and entertainment. I wish older people were more respected and less forgotten. I wish the ugly side of the internet would vanish. I wish the programming on television and at the movies were cleaned up morally. I wish everyone were truly Christian and truly set apart Christ as Lord in their hearts. I wish a nation that has told God to hush would open the ears and hearts to Him once again.
They are saying "Merry Christmas" at Wal-Mart again. For most of my life, we were people who didn't celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday but as a family one. The cultural battle to deject Christ from the American scene meant many stores were "Happy holidaying" rather than "Merry Christmasing." (You're not supposed to make verbs out of nouns, but I did.) I, for one, want to continue to help people understand that Christmas is a human tradition; but I also want people to think of Christ--at least for these few days. I want the Lord to be first in the hearts of everyone. Christianity is the best means for peace on earth. He is still the prince of peace. Through Him we have peace with God, with others, and with ourselves. There is no greater peace.
Well, these are my thoughts on a rainy morning in Franklin,