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Monday, February 08, 2016  |  321 Days Until Christmas
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Stories, Poems and Humor
Left Book On Getting in for Christmas
by Pierpont, Kenneth L.
Right Book

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There is something about this mystical, wonderful time of the year that makes you want to make your way home to be with people you love. I remember the Christmas Dad came home from South Vietnam. I was just a little boy and my tiny heart so longed for my Dad. We were all so eager to be together again. And years later there was a bus ride home for Christmas from Chicago to Greenville, Ohio. I had just completed my first semester of study at Moody Bible Institute. It was my first experience away from home.

A few years later it was a long, cold drive from Springfield, Missouri to Pontiac, Michigan. I aimed my powder blue ’72 VW toward home through the snow searching the AM radio for Christmas music and trying to imagine there was some warmth blowing from the heater which never adequately worked.

But the longest and most wonderful trips were the ones when I was a little boy and we were going to Grandma’s house. "How much longer, Dad?" The snowy fields passing. Oooing and Ahhing over displays of lights. Slowing down through small towns all dressed for the season.

One year we fought through snow and wind and cold and ice all the way from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Licking County, Ohio. After what seemed eternity we finally passed through the little village of Utica and then South on Route 13 to St. Louisville. Everyone was awake now. Mom would comb our hair and straighten our clothes. We turned east in St. Louisville and followed the road toward the base of the hills that separated us from the farm.

In my memory I can see the glow of the instrument panel lights on Dad’s face. We were close now but the most difficult part of the trip was just ahead. The last three miles to the farm would take over an hour. The last hill before the farm Grandpa always called Sadie’s Hill after the widow who lived in the yellow house at the base of the hill. We made the first hill with some difficulty, but Sadie’s Hill was ice-covered and steep. Our car would not climb the hill. We were so close to warmth and home and loved ones. We were so close to the security and happiness of family all gathered for Christmas but we were stranded with a steep, icy hill between the farm and us.

That was years before cell phones. Dad would walk for help. He pulled on his gloves, turned his hat down over his ears, buttoned his coat tight against the scarf around his neck and walked to Sadie’s to make a call. In few minutes he was back warming himself in the car. We waited in the cold darkness. What I saw next is the sharpest scene in my memory from those long years ago. It was the dark silhouette of my Grandpa on his little Ford-Ferguson tractor with his coat collar turned up against the icy wind. Melony and Mom and I began to cheer. Dad smiled.

Grandpa pulled us up over the hill with a huge log chain. Then he escorted us to the farm. It was a great adventure. Within a few minutes we could see the old white farmhouse nestled in the snowy valley and the evergreen down by the spring run wearing its coat of Christmas lights. Minutes later we were stomping off snow and bearing gifts and exchanging hugs and "Merry-Christmasing" all around.

This time of year so many are far from home, spiritually. They are out in the cold alienation that separates so many millions from knowing they are right with God. Though they long for warmth and home, grace, forgiveness, and peace, their experience is separation from love and distance from God. For whatever reason they are far, far from home. That is why Jesus came that first wonderful Christmas into this cold, dark, sin-blighted world. He left home so we could all go home for Christmas.

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