Thursday, December 22, 2005

Christmas Spirit

Each of us goes about the business of seeking the "Christmas Spirit" in a variety of ways. During the Advent season I usually spend Friday afternoons playing piano at nursing facilities. I don't do that out of the goodness of my heart! The motivation
is strictly one of selfishness. Nursing homes beat everwhere else on the planet when it comes to marketing joy. We left our prairie home to roam southward on the Great American Desert. Central City, Nebraska was our goal, in particular the nursing facility there that tends to the needs of alzheimers patients in one wing,and the infirm of any age throughout the rest of the home. My wife and I don't get down to visit dad often enough, but it does seem like every occasion is one for celebration.
This occasion was my bride's birthday. We had the most wonderful time with the people there, and in the midst of it we found the Spirit of God moving greatly in the lives of many. Tuesday evening we had a family choir to present hymns and caroles. Wednesday throughout lunch prep time we played and sang with residents. The true "Spirit" of the season is getting harder to locate as we near the 25th. Not so in Nebraska this week, however. I can't remember the last time that my fingers danced across a piano more joyfully than they did yesterday. That's where my selfishness comes into play. There is a part of me that wants to give, but the larger part of my nature is hungry for the gift of pleasure which only these circumstances can provide. There is nothing on this earth that can compare to the twinkle of delight in the eyes of a 94 year old lady tied into her wheelchair as she sings the songs of her childhood with others. The memories unfold so beautifully. There is laughter and tears, joy and sadness all in one room filled with hearts that remember more than the mind can recall. I love what these people give to me! It is right up there with the love that God has given all of us in the gift of His Son, the Christ Child. There is never quite enough time available for these moments, and the schedules don't always allow for time to preach God's Word as I would like, but it is shared in other ways, and that is another of God's gifts. When it comes to getting older we are all trodding the same path. There is only one alternative to becoming elderly. I pray this day that throughout Christmas and the whole year through we can each find it in our hearts to make the lives of others more joyful when an opportunity presents itself. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

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