When I woke up around 6:00 this morning, it was freezing outside but the house was toasty. I crawled out from beneath warm blankets in a comfortable bed inside a home with not a hole in the roof, no cracks in the walls, in a small Texas town in which I suspect not a single crime was committed on Christmas Eve. No family members were slouched on the couch, mouth gaping open, with an empty bottle of whiskey toppled over on the carpet beside them. I didn’t stumble into the bathroom, fill a glass from the tap, and shake a Prozac or Vicodin or even Zithromaz into my palm. While reaching into the fridge to grab some milk to doctor my coffee, I noted that every shelf overflowed with food, as did the freezer and pantry. Why, even the table had six or eight pies and cakes and plates of cookies gracing it. Beneath the tree were colorful boxes and bags for one and all. Every beloved family member for whom those presents were bought was still alive and well, not buried in the frozen soil of a graveyard out east. They all gathered around, sleepy smiles on their faces, tearing wrapping paper, oohing and aahing, and relishing the receiving end of giving.
This morning, I was surrounded by those I love, and who love me, all of us healthy, well-fed, educated, employed, safe, and blessed beyond measure with gifts of this world, as well as the world to come.
Friends, I have not been nice this year. In fact, I always make Santa’s naughty list. But if this is how the naughty are dealt with, then surely that fat man’s north pole kingdom must also be one, like our Lord's, in which the last are first, the unworthy are blessed, and love is doled out with reckless abandon.