First Come, First Served? Part 4 of 4

Subtitle: A reflection for the 7th day of the Christmas season


During the twelve days of the Christmas season, Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus; the one who signifies a reunion of humanity and divinity, a reconciliation of what is and what is meant to be. As a beloved carol proclaims, Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!

The meaning of Christmas, for me, lies not in whether it’s real, whether it actually happened (although, yes, I believe it did!), but rather in whether it’s true. That is, whether it points to something that matters to us and helps us to make sense of what it is to be alive in this world.

Therefore, the meaning of the Christmas story, for me, lies not only in who Jesus is, but also in what Jesus represents to us and for us about us.


Christmas proclaims not only that in Jesus there is peace (and that he is peace), but also points to our human destiny and legacy that peace is to be born in us. That we are to be no longer torn apart, ripped asunder, estranged from ourselves. That every aspect of our lives is to be connected to and with every other aspect of our lives. That our choices of what and who we let into our lives and, yes, what and who we keep out, match who we are.

Do we ever get it right? Do we ever arrive at the perfection of an unerring consistency and constancy between our being and our beliefs and between our beliefs and our behavior – what we think and feel, say and do? No, I don’t think so. At least, I haven’t achieved such a state of rightness, indeed, righteousness.

But that, too, is not the point. What matters is whether we are mindful that peace is the point and, thus, all of our choosing and counting proclaims whether we are at peace with God and the creation, with others and ourselves.

What do we choose? What do we count? Does it mirror, match who we are? Or do we live our lives on a first come, first served basis, saying, “I wish I had room”?

© 2020 PRA

Endnote: Hark! the herald angels sing! (1739); words by Charles Wesley (1707-1788)

4 thoughts on “First Come, First Served? Part 4 of 4

  1. Paul,
    I printed out the last paragraph… because these questions are key to living the life we are called to live. I wish we had more of an instruction book for who we let into our rooms. What’s helpful for me is that I am at peace with my relationship with God which as you pointed out is a big part of the battle! Maybe that peace will permeate through the rest of the choices I have to make!
    I loved the series!! Thank you!


  2. Having an instruction book! That would be grand! Alas, no such luck for us in this life. There is so much to and of our living that falls, I think, I believe, under that ubiquitous heading (which is life’s constant word to us): “Figure It Out for Yourself!” Yet, as you write, being at peace with God is “a big part of the battle” (and, yes, amen, sometimes life or, at least, some aspects of life, feel like…are a battle!).

    Always, thanks for reading and reflecting and responding.

    Love you


  3. Grady Hedgespeth January 1, 2021 — 1:34 pm

    Brilliant Paul, simply brilliant! And wonderful commentary between you two, Sis Loretta throughout. As Emperor Gates, creator of the empire enabling this www conversation at some level might have said, ‘you can’t RTFM life.’ Hence he and Melinda’s current attempts to reconcile their great wealth with how they have chosen and what to count. MacKensie Scott seems to have gotten “ religion” too it would seem with her timely abundant gifts to HBCUs. (Without which a quarter to half would be closed within five years). As for me, I am starting month fifteen along the path of deeper, constant discernment. Each new day is less difficult but also more challenging. Awakening to that reality of constant choice certainly has its costs and promises.


  4. Thanks, Grady. I appreciate you and your word of approbation.

    As for RTFM, amen to that (irrespective of whichever or whatever f-word one cares to employ!)!

    As for the Gateses and Scotts of this world, yes, I do admire their charitable largesse as an expression of their personal recalculations of their beingness in light of their vast material wealth. And tho’ I ne’er cannot aspire and will not achieve their degree of possessions, I, nevertheless, am called by God and life itself to count what I do have and to use it graciously. For no matter how great or little I possess, it is grace that hath put it into mine hand.

    Much love and bidding you and Sheila every blessing in this new year.


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