Saturday, December 21, 2013

Advent XXI

If anyone was told they could have a "do-over," I have always figured that Bethlehem innkeeper would run to the front of the line.  Every year when Mary and Joseph are chosen, and then the angels, the shepherds, and the men from the east, someone gets chosen for those unforgettable lines. "No room!  There is no room in the inn!"  Of course, the Christmas plays always give the innkeeper credit for offering the hay filled stall, but who is really to say such is how it happened?  The Scripture really does not answer that question for us.

Unfortunately, life does not work that way.   Golfers have mulligans.  Baseball players get three strikes.  Football teams have four downs.  Sometimes teachers have been known to give the same test over for students in need of mercy.  In the game of life, there are no "do-overs."  One shot is it.  The prodigal son got grace, but he could not "do-over" what he had done.  Consequences still remained.  As scary as it sounds, we usually have only one shot at getting it right the first time.  The innkeeper at Bethlehem missed it.

Most of us who have any kind of history with experience can look back to a moment we would like to "do-over."  Those are the moments of remembering bad choices.  Those are the moments of regret and even guilt.  They  may even be moments of remembering the pain we caused someone.  We do not have the past to live over, but we do have the present to live right and well.  With God's help, we can live it so that there is no need for "do-overs."  When we make that choice, our present starts overshadowing our past.  Ask Joseph.  His first reaction was not the one of faith, but fear.  We remember him because of the one of faith.

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