It’s Wednesday afternoon, 5:02, and I’ve been kind of depressed all day long. Now, before any of you fire off an e-mail telling me not to feel that way, I need to tell you why. Sandy and I just got back from a few days in Dallas where we were able to spend some time with our son and daughter-in-law. We did all the things we like to do except play golf (unseasonably cold weather in Dallas). We ate Mexican food, Blue Bell ice cream, and we caught up on all that’s been happening in their lives. That was Saturday through Monday. Then, we got up very early on Tuesday morning, drove to the airport to catch a 7:50 flight that got delayed and got home much later on Tuesday then we had originally planned. So I’m feeling a little depressed today because I’m tired, but mostly because I really miss my son.
According to MapQuest, it’s exactly 926.04 miles from my driveway to his. But it feels a lot farther. It will feel even farther on the 18th when he celebrates his 25thbirthday and farther still on the 25th when Kara and he celebrate Christmas because Sandy, Tricia, and I will be here, and he will be there.
When Sandy got pregnant, I just knew we were having a boy. In fact, I was so confident that I went out and found a small Rawlings Signature Series baseball glove with the autograph of Reggie Jackson (my favorite baseball player) and stuck it on the corner of his crib. Andrew grew up to be a baseball player and gave me more thrills than I can even describe. When he was 14 and playing in his last baseball season before high school ball, he got hit in the face with a pitch and broke his jaw. For six weeks his jaw was wired shut. When the wires were finally removed, there were a few games left in the summer season, and he wanted to play. I was worried, not knowing what it would be like his first time up to bat. But in the first at bat of his first game back, he hit a two-run home run over the right field fence (the ball completely smashed the windshield of a car parked in the wrong spot). That’s just one example.Earlier this year he got the opportunity to preach in the Sunday morning services of the church he serves in Grand Prairie (Crossroads Christian Church). It was their back-to-school Sunday, and there were over 4,300 people there. Sandy and I listened to the message online, and it was awesome! It was even better than a two-run home run.Some days it just hurts to be so far away—to be separated from someone you love so much.
I wonder what it was like for God the Father when His Son Jesus chose to give up His heavenly position and authority and come to Earth to identify with people like you and me.” I mean, I know that He is the Sovereign God of the Universe. I know He is not limited by, or subject to, the frailty of flesh and blood like we are, but I wonder how it felt. We know there was a deep love between Father and Son. Matthew 3:17 says, “And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’" If I can feel the heartache of separation from my son, just imagine how God felt when Jesus became a man. Just imagine what it was like for God the Father to see His Son lying in a manger in Bethlehem knowing full well that one day that baby in the manger would be nailed to a cross.
I hope this Christmas gives you the opportunity to be close to the people you love—to family and friends. But more than that, I hope this Christmas gives you the opportunity to understand, maybe for the first time—maybe like it’s the first time all over again—the great love that God has for you. A love so strong that He was willing to send His Son and experience the pain of separation so that you could experience the joy of togetherness with Him.
P.S. I hope you will be at our annual Christmas service this weekend, and I hope you will invite a friend to join you. We have designed this service to be very “guest friendly.” That doesn’t mean it will be “watered down.” That just means it will draw people in and then confront them with the gospel. Don’t let anything keep you from being a part of what God is going to do this weekend.