I remember reading about a teller at the drive-in window of a bank who was having difficulty with the glaring sun. He lowered the shade. Behind the shade he could see customers as they drove up, but they couldn't see him. As one woman drove in, the teller punched the button. The money drawer opened just as the woman came to a stop. She put her check in the drawer and the draw withdrew. Seconds later the drawer rolled out again with her money in it. She took the money and stared at the window. She couldn't see anybody. Then she said, "I know you are completely automated, but I want to thank you anyway."
It is really nice in our automated world to have someone we can thank, especially during this season of Advent and Christmas. I think it is sad that many people have a feeling of gratitude, but they have no one to thank. We do have someone to thank. So, let's share the joy of the coming of a savior, Jesus Christ, with others.
I remember reading about a man in New England in 1938 who went into a store and bought a new barometer, which he took home and proudly placed in his study window. When it was hung he consulted it anxiously to see what the weather would be like that day. Lo and behold the barometer said "hurricane." Here he was in New England and the idea of a hurricane seemed absurd to him. So he grabbed that barometer in a huff and rushed back down to the store to return it. The store clerk asked, "What's the matter?" He said, "Here I've traveled all this way to this store to buy this barometer and it's reading hurricane."
The store owner said, "Oh, I'll happily refund your money."
He got his money back and started the long journey home. By the time he got home, his house had blown away because of the hurricane that hit New England in 1938.
Just like this man who was looking for a sign, people are always looking for signs concerning Christ's return. We do not know when our time will come, but we do live in anticipation that God will fulfill God's promises of giving us eternal salvation.
Dean Lynn Harold Hough of Drew Divinity School was riding on a train some years back, reading Greek tragedies. He came across the story of a god who fell in love with a maiden, and came to visit her. But the god found that she had been in an accident, and was lying beside the road in a pool of blood. The god was repulsed at the sight of blood, and immediately winged his way back to Mt. Olympus, where he could contemplate the human situation.
A god afraid of human suffering. Dean Hough said that he looked out of the train window, watching the telephone poles pass by in the form of crosses...and could not help but contrast the two: the pagan and the Christian faith. Then he remembered the words of a familiar hymn: "There is a green hill far away, Beyond the city wall; Where the dear Lord was crucified, Who died to save us all." Our God is not afraid of human suffering. He's been there. He's not afraid of blood. He's shed some Himself. In Marc Connelly's play GREEN PASTURES the Lord says: "Even bein' God ain't a bed of roses!"
Christmas is a great season of joy and celebration. Yet, Christ comes to bring us hope as we face the challenges of this world.