Real Help for Real Living: I owe Charlotte Motor Speedway Five Dollars

Anthony MarcianoEach November, I plan my calendar for the upcoming year.  One thing I faithfully do is go to  the Charlotte Motor Speedway calendar and look up the dates for the Auto Fair.  They are generally in April and September.  I block them on my calendar.  My staff knows that they are vacation days for me.  Nothing but nothing keeps me away from the show.  That is until this year.

This past September, I was supposed to go to the Rescue Mission, teach Bible Study and leave for the Speedway.  But as sometimes happens, life happened.  What was scheduled to be an 8:45am departure turned into a 12:30 leave time.  I drove home, ate lunch, and left with my wife as we headed to the Speedway.

By now it was 1:30 in the afternoon.  I struggled having to pay five dollars to park my car for a few hours.  I pulled up to the attendant who said, “Five dollars please.”  I looked at him and said, “Now look at me.  I’m not a young man.  I have this gorgeous blonde sitting in the seat next to me. How could a guy like me get a woman like that to go with me to the Auto Show?  C’mon, give me a break.  It’s 1:30. Let me part for free.”  There was silence.  He looked at me and said, “That’s a new one.  Go ahead and park.”  He never asked for the five dollars.

Sometimes we don’t ask.  Everything is what it always is.  As we prepare for Christmas, do we do what we have always done? Do we decorate the Christmas tree with the same lights, the same garland, the same ornaments?  Do we set up the same nativity scene and read the familiar story of the Christ child from the Gospel of Luke?

Let’s make this year different.  This Christmas, God invites you to look at the various parts of the Christmas story in ways you never considered.

  • How would Mary tell her family she was pregnant while being faithful to Joseph.  When was the time in your life you did the right thing and everyone misunderstood you?
  • Would people want to associate with Mary after she started showing?  When was the time you stood for something that was important to you and you stood alone?
  • You’re Joseph and everyone is telling you to put Mary away.  Even after your dream, no one believes you when you say the child is of God.  When was the last time you stood strong on your principle, knowing you would be seen as crazy?
  • You’re a shepherd boy and your father takes you and your sheep to the manager.  You stand in awe of what you see.  When was the last time you stood in awe of the wonder of God’s love for you?
  • You’re a wise man and you have spent some time following the star from the East to greet the Christ Child.  Do you feel like you are pursuing something that God has you to do, yet the target is nowhere in sight?

I want you to put yourself in the story line.  It’s too easy for it to be so very familiar.  You’re Mary, Joseph, a shepherd boy or one of the wise men.  What do you see?  What do you smell?  What are the feelings you are experiencing?  How does that relate to your life today?

Next year when I go to the auto show, I’ll have to come up with a new line to see if I can park for free.  It’s fun to see things from a different perspective.