Thawing outside and inside

The beautiful blanket of snow that covered our fair city for most of the last ten days has lost about 99% of its charm.  Temperatures in the mid-30s and intermittent rain have turned light, dry snow into heavy, wet slop.  It’s no longer good for sledding, snowballs, or even walking.  We’re ready for it to go away.  To that end, as Susan and I walked to the neighborhood bakery this morning we cleared snow from every storm drain we knew of along the way.

On Christmas Eve an awful lot of people seemed to have last-minute errands.  Unfortunately, that brought out the cars.

I was just starting to make Swedish Toast when neighbor Maureen called for help.  She was assisting an older gentleman whose car was stuck across part of the road at the bottom of our hill.  We ended up putting chains on his older Mercedes.  I got behind the wheel but made no progress going up the street.  He left us with his car and walked up the hill to get more help.  By the time he came back with his grandson and a bottle of wine, we’d managed to get his car off the street.

As I walked back up the hill, neighbor Lisa was standing by her car at the top of her steep driveway.  She hadn’t driven for eight days and missed the last five days of work.  Afflicted with cabin fever, she thought conditions might be good enough to try to get her car out.  I shoveled two tracks down the driveway so she’d have bare pavement to drive down.  That worked okay, but the slush at the bottom of the driveway convinced her to ‘quit while she was behind.’  I drove her about three miles to work in our trusty all-wheel drive Toyota van.  On our way we passed Mr Mercedes putting on chains again, with faithful neighbor Maureen standing guard to make sure he didn’t get run over by passing cars.

* * * * * * * * * *

An article in today’s paper included a picture of a man dressed like Jesus to “show people what Christmas is all about.”  Apparently about 400 people from a church in Kansas are doing something similar.  The man in the picture wore a beard, a white robe, and a crown of thorns, and was reading a newspaper over a cappuccino.

How am I going to explain this to my neighbors?

As I read the scriptures, it seems more likely we’d find Jesus in a Tent City or a soup kitchen or a hospital than sipping a cappuccino at Starbucks.

“When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink?  And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?”  Then the King will say, “I’m telling the solemn truth:  Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me–you did it to me.’  (Matthew 25)

Jesus might be seen in the face of one serving a hot meal, offering shelter, or visiting a prisoner.  Or he might be seen in the face of one being fed or housed or visited; or maybe even the guy needing help chaining up his car.  A good reminder to me – and perhaps to you – during this Christmas season.

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One response to “Thawing outside and inside

  1. Tom and Susan,
    As I read the scriptures, it seems more likely we’d find Jesus putting chains on the Mercedes belonging to an older gentleman whose car was stuck at the bottom of a hill, or shoveling two tracks down the driveway of a neighbor and then driving the neighbor three miles to work.

    In the past two days, I have had five people help me get my car out of piles of slush. The car mats I put under my tires and shovel to dig out helped me get started, but what truly warmed my heart was the willing hands and offers of help, the feeling that other people cared.

    My point is, I don’t think either of you have to worry about your neighbors and the Starbucks Jesus; they have examples right in their neighborhood of what living faith is about.

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