It has been an unusual Christmas this year at Dinkel Island. Instead of snow, there have been warm temperatures and rain storms. When the Melodaires from the Baptist Church headed out for their annual caroling journey the Sunday before Christmas, they were dressed in summer clothes instead of colorful seasonal attire.
On the morning of Christmas Eve the Old Geezers gathered at the drug store for their usual Thursday coffee. Doc Patcher made a comment about the caroling. “They even sang off-key,” he said. “When the weather’s off, it throws everything else off.”
“It don’t even feel like Christmas,” said Jimmy Charles, waving his hands in sweeping gesture that almost caught Doc’s coffee cup. “We’ve never had so many folks on the golf course in December.”
Ed Heygood stepped into the conversation. “Yeah, things are different, but what it’s really all about doesn’t change with the weather. The Melodaires still did their caroling, and we will have a great service of lessons, carols and communion at the Wesleyan Brethren Church tonight.”
“That’s right,” said Doc. “Kate’s out of town, ain’t she? So, she left you in charge!” He raised his eyebrows. “Maybe that’s what threw everything else out of sync!”
The guys all laughed. “Yeah, that’s it,” said Ed, laughing with them. “The weather’s all my fault–you can always blame the preacher.” He took a swig of his coffee, then slapped Doc on the back. “Of course, nothin’s really changed. The weather’s just part of the background for the real story. God’s love shines and glows whether in sun, wind, rain or snow. If you don’t believe it, come to church tonight.”
“Yeah, you’re right,” said Darrel Tellerson. “It feels different this year, but the focus is still the same. Maybe we need Christmas more than ever this year. It makes us stop and remember who’s really in charge, and what life’s all about. I’ll be there tonight. Wouldn’t miss it.”
When the group broke up Ed went home to work on his message. He reflected on Christmases over the years. Each one was somehow different, yet there was something unchanging that is always at the heart of it. At Christmas the world always pauses to take a deep, collective breath. Even in times of suffering or hardship, there is always a renewed sense of love, hope, peace and joy at the center of life.
That’s how we get refreshed from the inside out, Ed thought. It’s the only way we can get through the down times. No matter what’s going on with the weather, or anything else, God’s love is what counts. That’s the light I want to see shine tonight, just like Bethlehem’s Star shone over a lowly manger centuries ago. It’s still happening–still fresh!