It’s Christmas Eve, and I’m not really feeling the Christmas spirit.
I’ve been so caught up with getting our basement to the point of being usable – the kids are home tomorrow – that Christmas has kind of crept up on me.
I haven’t been a particularly jolly old soul, the last few days. In fact, I’ve been pretty ornery. Pushing too hard. Trying to get too much done. Not getting sleep.
If you are so inclined, you needn’t feel sorry for me. These are all first-world problems. Many people don’t even have a house, let alone are able to renovate the basement of it.
So I’m taking a few moments now to think about how good I really have it.
As mentioned, I have a home. This dwelling has sheltered us for the last eighteen years or so. It has seen my children grow from boys into men. It has seen joy and tears, happiness and sorrow.
It has seen our lives unfold, and it continues to shelter us from the elements.
I also have access to more food than I need. As my wife works for a world-wide relief and service organization, I am intimately acquainted with how rare this is. Billions of people are going to bed hungry tonight.
I agonize over whether to have a piece of fruit or a pepperoni stick.
I have all the modern conveniences: washer / dryer, dishwasher, fridge, freezer, and stove. In a pinch, I can pop food into a microwave and – miraculously – it is warm in a few seconds.
Netflix is a click away.
I have central heating that works – most of the time. I don’t have to spend my time searching for firewood or burning dry dung. This device works so well that the only time I notice it is when it stops working.
And I don’t have to worry about clean water. According to the UN water report, 780 million people don’t have access to clean water. 2.4 billion (with a B) don’t have adequate sanitation.
I can turn on a tap and drink clean water. I can hop in the shower as many times a day as I like. Errrr … human waste is easily disposed of.
I often think that I am not particularly well off. I’ve made many financial mistakes, over the years. That’s if I compare myself to my fellow Canadians. Canada being one of the wealthiest countries in the world.
If I think about it, though, I am incredibly well off:
- $3200US makes me wealthier than 50% of the world’s population
- $70,000US puts me in the top 10% in the world
- Having a net worth of between $10,000 and $100,000 makes me wealthier than nearly 5 billion people on this planet
These of course, are only the material things in my life. I am also blessed with good friends, like you. I know that if times get tough, I have people who will care for me and about me. People who will laugh and cry with me. Who will hold my hand, if needed, or kick me in the pants. Also, if needed.
And I have my family. My boys have grown into good men. In turn, they have attracted wonderful women into their lives. And, in turn, into mine. My life has been greatly enriched by these great additions to our family.
Of course, I have Sue. Sue and I have been through it all, and we’re still standing.
Nearly 30 years ago – we married at age 5 – we made vows to each other:
For better, for worse.
For richer, for poorer.
In sickness and in health.
The thing is, we, like most, I suspect, really thought:
For better, for richer, and in health.
For a good part of our lives together, it has been the opposite for me. Yet, through it all, Sue and my kids have loved me in spite of my shortcomings and issues.
This, my friends, is God’s grace lived out here on earth.
And so, on this Christmas Eve, it’s finally beginning to feel like Christmas. I am, after all, incredibly fortunate to be here.
Merry Christmas, my friends.