Ramblings from the Cove...

January 2009

By Lars Gren

The colorful paper that was so carefully cut to fit the package is now a wadded up mess as the boy shrieks with delight exclaiming, “looky looky Grandpy, Lego building blocks” this to go with the other Lego boxes already sitting in the corner. The room is too small to hold the number of people in chairs and on the floor along with a variety of packages opened and unopened under the tree and deposited around the room. The draped “Crown Jewel” is wheeled out so that a 2 year old can be positioned in front of it as the drape is drawn away, video cameras are at ready as well as out of fashion print cameras, ohs and ahs along with sounds of exclamation can be heard as the child, a bit bewildered, “takes in” a mini cooking center with pans that when put in the proper place appeared to be boiling water. It is the finale to a merry Christmas afternoon. So now the cleanup and the excitement of playing with new things, that is, until the novelty wears off and then perhaps it is a return to the metal rim or bicycle rim and with a stick hitting it to start the roll and the two become one sprinting down the street. No, that simple game is old fashioned. Today the winner is still the one with the most toys.

In such a scenario one might wonder if the economy is really as bad as we are led to believe or is it a last hurrah before austerity sets in? Perhaps some will be depressed in thirty days or so when the credit card reckoning comes and will have to decide to pay this –skip this—return this—how did it get so out of hand? In view of that possibility a current news magazine has come up with, “50 Ways to Improve Your Life in 2009” among which are: Investigate the tales of Edgar Allen Poe. Make more friends at work. Recycle tired gadgets. Spread tolerance. Add some obstacles to your jog. Choose Obama stocks. Move to Vermont. Take an afternoon nap. Let’s quit on that one which most of us would enjoy.

When the last gift was opened would all say, “That was a great Christmas, one of the best.” Is that how we think of Christmas with little resemblance to the simplicity of that stable with its dignity? A celebration for a King while today it is more of a celebration for Santa Claus, who so freely gives us all things—well as long as we can pay the piper.

Where were we for the celebration? Having been invited out, we happily escaped my cooking. But in thinking of our own celebration was there much thought of the significance of that manger scene? No, not really. We sang a Christmas hymn standing around the table prior to the prayer of thanksgiving for the meal. The roast was delicious as were the sweet potatoes and who would not enjoy the chocolate cake and pies but I can’t recall the hymn we sang. But I can recall a hilarious story told that now I have passed on. The conversation was normal of things that were current in the family and elsewhere such as it is in most dinner gatherings. There were a few gifts for some of the immediate family but not the overabundance that we had seen earlier in the day.

Some days later in thinking of Christmas day, I wondered if God took more pleasure in the spirit of the wild giving in a more raucous atmosphere than in, shall we say, the more staid party which also had an abundance of laughter and cheer. Was He more present in one than the other? Of course we know the answer is no, for there in no place that God is not. Would one of the two be more pleasing? How does one celebrate the birth of Jesus differently than the other celebrations that we attend during the course of the year? Did I come up with a neat answer or formula? No? In one sense every experience in life should be honoring to “Him who gives us all things freely,” but that has not been the case in my life.

Just prior to Christmas I was listening on the radio to Chuck Swindoll bringing in the significance of the offerings brought by the wise men—the Gold for a King—the Frankincense for the Priest—the Myrrh for the Sacrifice—why did they choose those three items? They knew from the star in the east that a King had been born and brought Gold but did they bring Frankincense having sensed His Priestly office and the Myrrh for His sacrifice? That is not told but we know the end of the story—well at least to the middle—the sacrifice but what will His return be like?

I can at least imagine the suspense and excitement of the Wise men as they stood before the baby. At the end of the 2nd World War when King Haakon returned from England he did a welcoming tour of the cities in Norway. I, along with, what seemed like, most of those living in Kristiansand, went down to the wharf to be there when his boat came up the fjord. There were hurrahs, flags galore being waved and people were on tip toes to catch the first sight and then as the King and his family came off the boat to step again onto Norwegian soil after a five year exile there were the resounding cheers. The King returned home, a solemn and jubilant moment. What will the moment be like when the King of Kings returns?

Now you might say, “Why didn’t you bring up the uniqueness of the day?” Fear of stumbling around I suppose but the thoughts came to me on a post Christmas night and that may only be a lame-brained excuse.

And that’s it from the Cove.

God bless y'all,

Lars

 
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