Switch Seats

September 19, 2008 by  
Filed under Devotions

There’s a company that makes T-shirts with spiritual themes. One of them shows an airplane being flown by a frantic pilot. The shirt says “If God is your co-pilot, switch seats.”

That’s a statement that’s simple, but sort of sums up our struggle. We often talk about how faith is hard. But I believe a certain amount of faith is really not difficult at all. The Gallup Organization of Princeton conduct surveys that consistently report that about 94 percent of Americans believe in God. It’s not hard to acknowledge God. And I don’t think it’s hard for me to make God my co-pilot.

It’s easy. Like this:

“God, you keep an eye on the horizon and the dials and gauges while I fly the plane. But you be ready in case a storm comes up or we lose an engine or the wing falls off, because then I’m gonna need you to save the day. Of course, when we have blue skies, I’ll just take over again.”

That’s not hard. What’s hard is to relinquish the wheel. At the Annunciation, Mary gives us the blueprint for a different kind of faith – the hard kind.
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Christmas Cheer

September 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Devotions

Every year around this time, I have a familiar experience. I’m out shopping, and I’ll go through the checkout line, and pay for my stuff. When the cashier hands me back the change, they’ll say “Happy holidays,” or perhaps even “Merry Christmas.”

I realize that this comment is not always motivated by the cashier’s genuine interest in whether or not I enjoy my holiday. I’m aware that they may be saying this because they’ve been told to. I can envision the memo from K mart corporate headquarters directing cashiers when to switch from “Have a nice day” to “Happy Holidays,” on the assumption that this will somehow help cement a lasting bond between the store and the customer that won’t evaporate when a Wal-Mart opens across the street.

I’m aware of all that, and suspicious of the whole business. But at least once every year, I have a cashier who looks me in the eye and says “Merry Christmas,” and really means it. And it changes my whole day.

There really is something genuine to this whole idea of Christmas cheer. As Dec. 25th draws near, people warm up just a bit. If you’re out and around on Christmas Eve, you’ll notice that people are friendlier than on any other day of the year.

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