Monday, December 21, 2009


On Saturday evening, I spent about six hours out in the cold and snow playing my trumpet and sharing some news. In fact, the news was so great that we, the heavenly hosts, shared the news 89 times. Of course, it really didn't seem like 89 times because a miracle occurred in the form of Wooden Peel pizza appearing right in front of us. I broke one of the cardinal rules of trumpet-playing enjoyed several pieces of delightfulness.

So what is this good news that I mention. Well, it is the greatest news of all time. Unfortunately, I don't do a very good job of sharing this news. In fact, as I write this on my parents computer (yay for dial-up Internet), I am a little dismayed to think that over all of these years, the Holy Walk is the one time in the year that I explicitly share this news with others.

Yet, after twenty-nine years (okay, I was not even a year old when the very first Holy Walk was right outside the window of the room where I'm typing), the message is still fresh. In fact, the message is still fresh more than two thousand years later.

I know this for a fact.

I am convinced of this.

When the 88th group (each group averaged about 25) came by at 11:11 PM, something happened.

Normally, when I do the trumpet fan fare and exclaim, "Fear not,..." the shepherds and sometimes also the guide kneel. Once in awhile a young kid or two and a parent might also kneel. Something different happened though at that late hour. Several members of the group kneel ith the shepherds. Then, I watched as the members of the group looked at those kneeling and at each other. Then, collectively, the remainder kneeled. My eyes are watering right now with this image of a group of middle school kids and their parents kneeling on hillside outside of lowly Bremen hearing a proclamation of hope.

I think many of them were probably yearning for something.

In fact, I am confident of this.

Why? Because I was yearning for something and we are all people and deep down we all share some longings and desires.

I was yearning for the manger.

In fact, I said to some of the angels that I really wanted to go to the manger.

Unfortunately, I didn't.

Why? Probably for some of the same reasons that the people in the group were hesitant to kneel. It was cold. Someone else might see me. It was just toogoofy.

Well, on Sunday morning, I still longed for the manger and felt compelled to head over to Bremen United Methodist for church. As I was sitting in the pew, I heard the pastor say, "People want a glimpse of the manger."

Why? Because all of the sudden in that one glimpse, God is real. God is right there in the quagmire of shit (no really, I know for a fact that animals leave a mess - I scooped it plenty of times growing up on the farm) that is part of our human existence.

God is right there in a dirty, grimy manufacturing plant. God is right there when the tears blur the vision - when someone dies, when the world does not make sense. God is right there when we hesitate to be ourselves - even among friends.

Merry Christmas!

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