Christmas is for adults, too.

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Everybody always says, “Christmas is for Children.”

Been there, done that.  It was great.

However…

I’d like to raise a few points on behalf of those who find themselves with a few gray hairs.  Or a lot of them.

Christmas is no less magical or profound or sweet or challenging now than it was when we were whippersnappers.

In fact, it may even be better.

Let’s talk about Hope:  I must confess I’ve done my time on the Island of Misfit Toys.  Feeling broken. Not sure where I belonged. But I’ve learned that everyone gets broken.  Everyone feels like a misfit from time to time.  It is the coming of Christ that gives our lives meaning and purpose.  Now I know what it really means to have HOPE!

Let’s talk about Love:  I’ve learned that there is no perfect present underneath the tree.  Hard as we might try, we can’t fit love in a box.  There’s only one gift that truly satisfies to that extent.  It is the gift that God gave to us, so that we might pass it on.  Now I know what it really means to have (and give) LOVE!

Let’s talk about Peace:  Every year I find myself saying, “has the world ever been this bad?”  My attentiveness to the suffering around me has developed, but so has my faith and resolve.  I believe there is no turmoil that the Prince of Peace cannot transform, and I want to help.  Now I know how to look for signs of PEACE!

Let’s talk about Joy:  Whereas once a gadget or a toy would make me giddy, now joy strikes me much more deeply. It is in the presence of family and friends.  In witnessing simple acts of grace.  In the Christmas story.  More than just the excitement of a season, I am reminded of what God With Us truly means both now, and the whole year round.  Now I know the ongoing thrill of JOY!

Oh, I’d never take back all those wondrous Christmases I spent as a child.

But I’m surprised to report that the Christmas miracle keeps on getting clearer,

…even as I keep getting grayer.

Merry Christmas.

Mitch

crimbo

originally published 12/14, revised 12/18

Sunday, 12/16/18 2-4pm at Jane’s Landing Coffee Shop in Mulvane KS — BOOKSIGNING PARTY!  Come drop by!

MY NEW BOOK!  A collection of my favorite devotions from over the years, complete with study questions.  Perfect for individual reflection or group discussion.  Get yours today!

barefoot.: devotions & discussions by Rev. Mitch Todd Paperback

 

T O T A L I T Y

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Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness spreads over Egypt—darkness that can be felt.”  So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days.
–Exodus 10:21-22

On August 21st, 2017, a word I’d heard but never used sort of sprang up into my mouth, where I uttered it many, many times:  TOTALITY.

Everywhere I went people were saying that word!

Totality.  Referring to that narrow band of geography, spreading across the United States, that fell completely into the shadow caused by the solar eclipse.

Like a status symbol I never knew was attainable or even existed, I was suddenly one of the millions who were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, and to have the clouds (literally) part and reveal the sun, fully eclipsed by the moon.  Totality.

It was very cool.  I hadn’t even been expecting much of the event, but watching the world around me rapidly descend into nighttime was like something out of a global disaster movie!  It was somehow palpable, pervasive.  It was darkness that clings to you.

I was instantly transported back to ancient Egypt.  To the showdown between God and Pharaoh, to Moses stretching out his hand and bringing sudden darkness on the land. This was not just a heavy cloud cover kind of darkness.  This was, as God puts it, “darkness that can be felt”.

A plague of totality.

I experienced 3 minutes of it, and felt a little relief when the light began to return.  I can’t imagine what 3 days of that would have felt like, knowing God was punishing you.

Some folks feel that way. That God is punishing us.  Can you recall a moment when everybody you knew was walking around in the dark at the same time?  When it seemed like the whole Earth had crawled up inside a shadow?

September 11th comes to mind.  And our world today can feel like the new Dark Ages.  There are so many scary, hateful signs of despair, whole swaths of us that are living in the shadows. Many turn their eyes towards heaven, and blame God for the dark.

Darkness is so often portrayed as something to be feared and dreaded, but on August 21st, 2017, I experienced the thrill of life on planet Earth, in its totality. We praised God, even in the dark!

During this totality, what I heard were screams of joy coming from a neighbor’s front yard.  A jubilant firework being shot off across town.  We whooped and hollered and stared right at the sun for a few moments.  This was a once in a lifetime experience that was shared by those “in the zone” and those hundreds of miles away.

Let us remember that God created darkness along with the light.  God is not out to punish us, or banish us, or deprive us from joy.  God created the sun and the moon and the earth.  God created the universe in its totality, and all the many lives who inhabit it,

not for us to revel in despair…

but to eclipse it with joy.

Have a great week,

Mitch

darkness_by_onamio-d5waptzdarkness_by_onamio-d5waptz

Christmas is for adults, too.

instagram-2

Everybody always says, “Christmas is for Children.”

Been there, done that.  It was great.

However…

I’d like to raise a few points on behalf of those who find themselves with a few gray hairs.  Or a lot of them.

Christmas is no less magical or profound or sweet or challenging now than it was when we were whippersnappers.

In fact, it may even be better.

Let’s talk about Hope:  I must confess I’ve done my time on the Island of Misfit Toys.  Feeling broken. Not sure where I belonged. But I’ve learned that everyone gets broken.  Everyone feels like a misfit from time to time.  It is the coming of Christ that gives our lives meaning and purpose.  Now I know what it really means to have HOPE!

Let’s talk about Love:  I’ve learned that there is no perfect present underneath the tree.  Hard as we might try, we can’t fit love in a box.  There’s only one gift that truly satisfies to that extent.  It is the gift that God gave to us, so that we might pass it on.  Now I know what it really means to have (and give) LOVE!

Let’s talk about Peace:  Every year I find myself saying, “has the world ever been this bad?”  My attentiveness to the suffering around me has developed, but so has my faith and resolve.  I believe there is no turmoil that the Prince of Peace cannot transform, and I want to help.  Now I know how to look for signs of PEACE!

Let’s talk about Joy:  Whereas once a gadget or a toy would make me giddy, now joy strikes me much more deeply. It is in the presence of family and friends.  In witnessing simple acts of grace.  In the Christmas story.  More than just the excitement of a season, I am reminded of what God With Us truly means both now, and the whole year round.  Now I know the ongoing thrill of JOY!

Oh, I’d never take back those wondrous years of Christmases past.

But that wonder has never left, if we know where to look!

It’s in any heart that embraces the HOPE, LOVE, PEACE, and JOY of Christmas…

and never lets go.

Merry Christmas.

Mitch

crimbo

 

 

 

D R O U G H T

…but joy comes with the morning. –Psalm 30:5b

I’m friends with a couple who are farmers out in western Kansas.  I saw them last week and they looked…well, they looked kind of dazed.  Beaten down.  And why not? There’s been no water for them this summer. Their crops have been burned to a crisp by the severe heat of the past month.

I said, “So, do you have to go out and do special irrigation for the crops?”

They looked at me blankly.

“No,” they said.  “There’s no water.  No water out of the ground, no water in tanks.  There’s nothing to irrigate with.”   Wow.  The significance of drought began to hit me.  And apparently there was nothing to do about it, either.   Nothing to do but just wait, and pray.

I’ve been there.  Spiritually.

I’ve been through seasons of life when it’s as if my lifeline to God had just shriveled up.   I had no reserves of faith to draw on.  I was choking on the dust of a meaningless existence, my roots pulling inward, my brittle leaves shattered and blown away on the hot wind.

I’ve experienced drought.  Have you?

It’s not something you easily bounce back from.   Sometimes a forced smile isn’t enough to wet your parched lips.   Sometimes you can only wait.

And pray.

* * *

Yesterday I awoke singing a line from a song I’d last heard some thirty years ago.   Here are the words (by Medical Mission Sisters):

I saw rain drops on my window, Joy is like the rain.
Laughter runs across my pane, Slips away and comes again.
Joy is like the rain.

I saw clouds upon a mountain, Joy is like a cloud.
Sometimes silver, sometimes gray, Always sun not far away.
Joy is like a cloud.
I saw Christ in wind and thunder, Joy is tried by storm.
Christ asleep within my boat, Whipped by wind, yet still afloat,
Joy is tried by storm.

I saw rain drops on a river, Joy is like the rain,
Bit by bit the river grows, ’til all at once it overflows.

Joy is like the rain.

* * * * *

My prayer today is a simple one.   For those in a drought…

I wish JOY.

Have a great week,

Mitch