You Having a blue, Blue Christmas? Here’s Hope!
Written by Jimmie Burroughs
It is Christmas Eve 2011 and my dog and I just took a walk down main street in the small island town of Cedar Key, Florida. It is about dusky dark as we stroll with not a car stirring. Only two cars are parked in the street, a street which runs several hundred yards in length. But suddenly out of the blue a kid comes swishing down the middle of the street on a skate board and shortly vanishes into the darkness. Now the city is totally deserted. As I look up toward the night sky, only the North Star is plainly visible; there’s enough moisture rising from the ocean to give it a cross like shape.
In my imagination, I’m thinking about what should have been on this deserted street on Christmas Eve over 100 years ago, round the turn of the century when the majority of the buildings were constructed. The buildings look awfully old and knackered now and many of them are listed on the nation’s historical register. The paved streets and the absence of hitching posts are doubtless the only real difference from way it must have looked at the turn of the 20th century.
Who knows, perhaps at this very same hour, there could have been a horse drawn carriage or two making their way down this lonely street on their way to go to mates, or on their way to a Christmas Eve Party. I try tough to visualize how it must’ve been to have lived then. I know that whoever could have been out on that night so long ago has long since been gone.
So tonight it is just me and my dog, the sole two stirring on this Christmas Eve night, and I find myself standing in front of the Island hotel, as it is called, which was assembled in 1858 and has weathered many a hurricane. As my mind continues to ramble, I wonder who should have been lodging here 150 years back on Christmas Eve. What were their names; what did they do and why were they here.
There’s a massive neon sign in the window that claims open. As I peer through the window, the lights are on, but instead dim and there’s not a soul in sight. I have never been inside the hotel, but as I look in I note the ceiling and walls are built from planking, the same sort of material that would have been used 150 years back. Perhaps it is the same. The counter looks awfully old also, like it may have been the original.
We turn around, my dog and I, and begin to walk slowly back to my jeep, which is parked at the other end of the street. The street’s still fully deserted. We walk past two buildings that are boarded up and look as if they have been vacant for years. They look generally stable but in bad need of restoration.
I am feeling just a little forsaken by this time, and just pondering, as I walk down this deserted street; what’s life all about anyhow? So many others have also passed this way before, maybe a little lonesome also, and now have met their end; wonder if they also had some of my same thoughts as they trudged along.
Many Christmas Eves, that found my wife and I busy putting the children gifts under the tree, after they had gone to bed and early Christmas mornings, have been and gone. The memories of those joy filled times came drifting across the shadows of my mind as I walked along; my youngsters busy opening their gifts round the tall green Christmas tree; just my other half and I and the youngsters, enjoying Christmas with a fire glowing in the hearth and Christmas music in the background.
The kids are grown and gone and have children of their own. My beautiful better half has passed away and is only a lingering memory. So tonight, it is just me alone in this plausibly, far away deserted tiny island city, with my thoughts and memories, and with my little dog companion, walking down a dark and empty street.
This could be just another unhappy tale, it isn’t, there’s a glorious hope, because tomorrow the sun will rise again on Christmas day and we’re going to join together around the world in a celebration that answers that question, “What is life all about anyway?” On this glorious day some 2,000 years back the savior was born. He came to this earth to sacrifice his life on an old rugged cross so we’d be able to be forgiven and receive God’s gift of everlasting life.
While the enjoyment of those past Christmases with spouse and youngsters are gone for ever, my hope remains in the joy of what Christmas and all of life is actually about: knowing Jesus the Lord, a peace that passes all understanding,. Which gives meaning and purpose to life and that never ends.
Yes, life is stuffed with many experiences and stages. Things are ever-changing; many cheerful experiences appear and disappear. Life begins and ends. Folk part and go their separate ways and everything appears so temporal. However , in the middle of all this change there is someone that is the same yesterday, today and forever and that is almighty God. A liaison with God is the one thing that seems sensible of this constantly changing world. It’s the only thing that stays the same and it is the one thing that we take with us when life on earth is over. In this season of lights, why not establish a liaison with God and see personally what a difference it makes in what otherwise could be a dreary, disheartening world.