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by Phil Ware
God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. (1 John 4:9)
We were young, poor, and out of our minds. Thats the only explanation I can give for why we tried to fly from Dallas to Dayton on Christmas Eve. Of course our connection was in good ol crowded, icy, full of exhausted and irate travelers OHare airport in Chicago. Our children were young. Our youngest was a toddler with an ear infection. Yep, we had to have lots of diapers for the side effects!
Fortunately we arrived at DFW airport 3 hours early. We were tired of the hotel and needed a change of scenery. We had plenty of time to kill until we checked in at curb side. Our flight was already over 2 hours behind schedule. We ran up the stairs, found a help desk, and were told that if we ran, we might make a flight that would connect to OHare in time for us to get to Dayton. We grabbed our tickets, garment bag, stroller, and kids... then RAN!
We made the flight by a good 40 seconds. The door hit me in the backside as I entered. We had no idea where this flight was headed or how many stops it would make before Chicago. We didnt have on our coats. We didnt know where our luggage was. All the gifts were in the suitcases. But our adventure had begun.
Our first stop was somewhere in Nebraska. The jet-ways werent heated. I learned this when someone grabbed the garment bag with all of our coats. I noticed he left behind an identical one. I grabbed it, ran after him and FROZE! I fought my way through the crowd, traded garment bags, and got back in line to get on our plane. My ticket was in the cabin! They let me back on after a few minutes of explanation. They figured nobody from Nebraska would be out in -4 degree weather without a coat. Meanwhile, Donna was pouring Amoxicilin and Benadryl down our daughter while changing diapers and keeping an eye on our son across the aisle.
We landed in OHare and sat on the tarmac 45 minutes before being allowed to dock and unload. By then, we had ten minutes to get to our next flight which was at the opposite end of the OHare Y. Before we could run, oops, we had to have another diaper and bathroom stop. When we arrived to board, there were over 100 people in line trying to fly standby and they had begun boarding them. We werent going to get on even though we had a reserved ticket. The line was too long. We were going to have to spend Christmas Eve in the OHare airport with a sick kid. Our kids werent going to have Christmas... We were on the verge of parental meltdown!
Two wonderful men from Oklahoma City overheard our plight, grabbed my arm and put me in line with them. Look son, you have a ticket, you have a little kids, youre getting to Dayton for Christmas! This Longhorn was ready to sing Boomer Sooner!
At 2:00 in the morning, my father-in-law Mel and I went to the airport freight area. It was now a blowing blizzard with very little visibility. Somehow the bags had gotten there. They were wet, muddy, and banged around, but we got them in car and slid our way home. On Christmas morning, stockings were stuffed, presents were in place, and our kids had one of their best Christmases ever! They had no idea how much work and sacrifice went into to making this Christmas merry and bright. They just shared in the joy of family and Christmas.
Christmas is often about frenetic activity and bone-crushing work. Often, the gifts that are received come with little or no awareness of what it took to get them there or the cost needed to make day a glorious one. But that is only fair, isnt it? For the greatest gift weve received came via a long difficult journey, fraught with all sorts of logistical problems, and fears that the night be spent in place unsuitable for a mom and her young child. You see, the difficulties of our human Christmas can, if we let it, remind us of the most awesome of truths: While we may know the gift weve received from God, we cant begin to understand the great cost at which that gift came.
So if your Christmas is full of manic work and unwanted hassle, just remember, sacrifice and hassle is really what provided us with the greatest gift of all.
Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminals death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8 NLT)
Author: Phil Ware
Publication Date: December 10, 2001
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