Scent of Evergreen

Scent of Evergreen

Miss Piggy once said,

“Never eat more than you can carry.”

I should have taken her advice this past week. As with many of you, I’ll be hitting the gym again this week with newfound inspiration that somehow accompanies the magical letdown of the closing of the Christmas season. Or at least my intentions will be hitting the gym. As the season lets down, so do our bellies. I’m not sure how all of that works, but it does.

I usually go into a clinical depression this time of the year as I begin to see the lights of the season slowly fade away with each sunny day that passes. The ambitious home owner who was psycho about decorating only 30 days ago is now psycho in the other direction. I wish his previous psychosis would linger a little longer. Because I get sad. That’s why I don’t decorate the outside of my house. I’d never have the willpower to remove what I spent so many grueling, passionate man hours to put up in the first place.

Tasha takes care of the inside. She tackled it today for a few hours. I asked if she would spare the Christmas tree one day longer to give me time to process what’s happening. I asked if I could have just one more quiet morning with my coffee and Bible beside the tree before the pitiful thing is devoured by Friday’s sanitation crew. Because I need it. She politely obliged. So, tomorrow marks the death of our tree and the death of the scent of evergreen that fuels the drive inside me all through the month of December. I suppose I shall have to discover another form of fuel for the months ahead. Thanks to global warming, I can’t count on snow to give me that push any longer.

I’m jealous of my inlaws, Robbie and Larry Litke. They live in Colorado Springs, Colorado and they were literally snowed in on Christmas day. I would have asked them to mail me at least the head of the snowman they built, but I don’t think the postal service is too keen on delivering indigenous carrots and unpackaged coal. I would have loved to see it though. I think I forgot what snow looks like. It’s yellow, isn’t it?

To celebrate New Years’ Day, we played with our kids outside. I’m discovering that’s how we celebrate everything. But not in the snow. Because there wasn’t any. But in the sunshine of the day. In the water-starved tract of land that once resembled our backyard. Now it’s a barren wasteland, complete with a heap of plastic yard ornaments knows as kids’ toys–more now thanks to the gift-giving insanity of the grandparents. But I love them (I love to kick them-the toys that is, not the grandparents…well, only on occasion, like when they give a superfluity of unnecessary gifts to their grandkids). I love them because my kids love them. I pushed Rainy around on her bike today and began teaching her the difference between her left and her right. She started to pick it up quickly and I was proud. I was proud to be called her dad.

I’m proud to enter into 2008 with a family that I love more than anything else on this earth. I’m proud to enter into 2008 with fresh vision and passion for what God wants to do through us, our ministry, our church, our friends all over the world, and our family scattered all over the US. I’m excited because while half of the Christians around our country today are too worried about boycotting the new dollar coins because they don’t say, “In God we trust,” I’m thankful that God can take care of Himself and doesn’t need my measly efforts to try to defend Him. I’d rather spend my time focusing on how I can communicate the message of the Gospel to the junkie who just walked out on his wife and kids. I’d rather focus on how I can minister to the college student who is thinking that an abortion is the best answer to her “problem.” I’d rather figure out a way to love the unlovable. To touch the untouchable. I’m thankful that God has put me in this country. But I’m also thankful that this country is not the be all and end all of salvation-history. I’m encouraged because God’s mission is never deterred, faltered or hindered. He’s not in the least bit scared, intimidated or shocked by the condition of the world, our country, or our politics. He’s interested in seeing all men come to repentance. That’s never changed. And I pray that never changes in me. That’s the fuel. That’s my scent of evergreen.