The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. (1 Peter 4:7-10 NIV)
I know this month’s blog should be about Christmas. It should be an opportunity to encourage folks to proclaim cool bumper sticker and lapel pin theology like the pithy revelation “Jesus is the reason for the season!” (It seems though, every year, we’re losing that battle – so perhaps I should change it up a little bit and draw attention to the true meaning of Christmas with a new slogan like “No Jesus No Christmas. Know Jesus Know Christmas.”)
Actually, this month, I find myself thinking more about life and death. (“Whoa! Wait a minute pastor, even those of us who only attend church about twice a year know that’s a better theme for when we return on Easter.”) There’s been too much of it lately. Recently, I observed that two words we can count on seeing on our list of prayer concerns each week are ‘Victims of…’ followed by the latest tragedy, at a church, a concert, a park, a theater, a mall, an office building, a protest, an elementary and high school, a college campus, a military base, and the list goes on. I mourn for the loss of life, but it was actually a recent celebrity death that has impacted me most. Actually not even the death as much as the tragic final words of the one who passed. On November 21st, the star of one of my favorite childhood TV shows died. The star, David Cassidy and the show, The Partridge Family. (Millennials, just Google ‘I’ll Meet You Halfway by The Partridge Family,’ and you can meet and sing along with the entire cast.) As a matter of fact, if you attend worship regularly, you’ll often hear me refer to our keyboard player, Vicki, as ‘Laurie Partridge.’ I was that big of a fan. According to his daughter Katie via Twitter, David Cassidy’s last words were, “So much wasted time.” The TV and rock star who many assumed had everything, achieved everything, and had done everything (or at least everything he wanted to do) breathed his last by breathing out he had left way too much on the table during his lifetime. In many ways that’s a tragedy worse than death, because statisticians have proven that 100% of all people eventually die. I know it’s cliché and even found in movies as old as The Partridge Family (Millennials, this time Google ‘Movie Brian’s Song’), but when it’s my time, I want my life to mirror the words of that movie…”But when they think of him, it’s not how he died that they remember, but how he lived. How he did live!”
Now, as I reflect on this Christmas season and the New Year ahead, I want my life, and encourage you to live your life as one, not of "So much wasted time,' but one committed to "No more wasted time."I believe that is a life lived where we are ambassadors on this earth, charged with spreading the message of hope, peace, joy, grace, and love through the life and teachings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – the reason for the season and celebration throughout the year (not just Christmas and Easter).God bless.
(Bloggers note – This month’s blog is dedicated to my dad, Reid, World War II Veteran, loving husband to my mom, granddad and great-grandfather who was my best man and biggest fan, whether I was speaking at a conference or preaching on Sunday morning. In July of this year, at 93-years old, when I asked him if he would trust Jesus Christ with his eternal soul, a man of few words, he simply said, “Yes.” On the day this blog was submitted for publication, my dad was admitted to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Hospice and Palliative Care Unit…So when I think of him, it’s not how he died that I will remember, but how he lives – eternally with our Savior.)