Christmas Memories – Advent Devotion
December 20, 2020
Christmas Eve Dinner @ Checkers
This Christmas Memory occurred on Christmas Eve, 1997. I was now a full-time youth minister at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Lake Worth, FL. On Christmas Eve, the church had two worship services. One was at 7 p.m., and the other at 10. As a staff member, I was expected to attend both services. However, I had no participative role in the 10 p.m. worship service.
It was a chilly, raining night in south Florida. But that didn’t stop members and visitors from coming to church services. As usual, about 60% of the people who attended services that evening were C.E.O.’s. (People who usually attended church for Christmas and Easter Only).
My wife Kathy and my nine-year-old daughter were at church with me for the 7 p.m. service. They also stayed for the later service because we lived about 25 miles from the church, and there wasn’t enough time for me to take them home and get back to the church in time.
After worship, we were hungry, and as usual, almost every restaurant and store were already closed for the holiday. The only place we found open was a Checkers about 2 miles from the church.
As I mentioned earlier, it was chilly and raining out. Kathy, Heather, and I got soaking wet running from the church to the car after services. Checkers was not very busy when we pulled in. We were wet, uncomfortable, and this was not the Christmas Eve meal we had hoped for.
Nevertheless, we needed to eat. A nine-year-old is never disappointed when you give them a burger and fries (Or Chicken Tenders). We muddled through our meal, and I’m sure that I complained about being wet and the meal we ended up with.
Perhaps I was acting a little spoiled and ungrateful; at least I see that now as I reflect back.
When I was young, my mom (who is just shy of 95) used to say, “Don’t complain with a loaf of bread under your arm.”
Her point? I had food that Christmas Eve; I have food now, so don’t complain just because it’s not exactly what you wanted to eat. It’s true, isn’t it? We go into a restaurant, and if they don’t have exactly what we want, we complain.
The best comparison I can make is to imagine Jesus out in the desert for 40 days and nights. Do we read anything about Him complaining? No. Not only was He incredibly hungry, but the devil took advantage of the situation tempting Him three times when He was weak from hunger.
The Bible also says that after Satan had left, angels came and tended to Jesus’ needs.
None of us are angels, but we are called to be servants for Christ. I spoke in earlier devotions about delivering food to needy families, giving to sharing centers and food banks.
So many of us have enough. Enough to feed our families, purchase Christmas presents, and have parties. Perhaps this year, when there are so many in need due to Covid 19, we should dig down deep and help others and not complain when we have enough.