I listened to the missionary on furlough from Africa. Once we sent men and women there, bearing Good News--a gospel that frees. Now we need that gospel again; proclaimed with soul disturbing power, so that we fall to our knees in recognition that we have far to go in our journey yet.
"Are you busy running here and there and missing the person God wants you to connect with?" he asked.
He spoke of wrong priorities and inflexible schedules. I put up my hand in my heart.
My mind wandered to our family's trip to the movies a couple of weeks ago to see Jim Carey's version of A Christmas Carol--in 3D.
Brenda had taken the girls the previous week and although they were mightily scared by Marley's ghost and the spirits of Christmas, they loved the movie and they wanted to go again and take their grandparents with them. At first I said regretfully that I couldn't afford an evening out, I had so much to do. But when I heard that they were going to the 5 o'clock show and I could still be home for the evening, I happily joined the party.
So that morning we planned the logistics. We would all go in Paul's car, which is the roomiest, and they would pick me up at my office at 4.30.
Later that day, Paul arrived to get me, slightly late and with an empty car. He was a bit frazzled because just as he was leaving, Sue had arrived to do some painting--with our other 4 grandchildren--and he had set up a movie for them to watch until Peter dropped by on his way home from work to pick them up.
He told me that Brenda had something to do in town and would be meeting us at the movie theatre.
Paul and Brenda are two of a kind when it comes to punctuality. Both of them hate being late, so we got to the theatre fast and arrived with just enough time to buy tickets and popcorn before the show.
Paul parked at the back, and as we entered the massive Silver City cineplex movie theatre, I spotted Brenda, in her pink, fur trimmed parka, with her back turned to us. She was looking out for us through the front doors.
She turned around as I called her name, her eyes widened, and in confusion, she and Paul shouted at each other, "Where are the girls!?"
The wires had somehow got crossed--each thought the other was bringing them. The girls were at home alone.
I called home, and Sue answered. "Sue, can you go and see if the girls are downstairs?" I said.
She came back a moment later and confirmed that they were and I said, "Tell them that Grandad is on his way to get them."
Paul was already running for the doors.
Brenda and I bought tickets and popcorn and had a coffee while we waited for the rest of the family--and the 5.30 show.
How ironic and funny that we all forgot the most important thing that night--the kids.
I thought of the babe in a simple manger, born into a world of turmoil and darkness, and he so easily forgotten in the madness that descends at Christmas.
He came to bring us peace.