Maybe Some Chow Mein and an Egg Roll
Last night after a long day of staring at a computer screen and putting together a Christmas mailing, I took the family out for dinner. We went to one of those gourmet Chinese food restaurants. Perhaps you’ve been there. It’s called The Panda Express.
Now you are probably thinking that I’m a little nuts. There is no way The Panda Express has gourmet food. But it does, and it says so right on their logo. Check it out.
So we ordered, ate our wonderfully bland mediocre gourmet food and headed out.
And there she was. Sitting on the concrete right by the doorway. Maybe 40 years old, dirty, disheveled, and not looking good.
As we were getting into our little toy car, she approached me. Living in a somewhat urban setting, you get used to this type of attack. The homeless/lazy/down on their luck/lookin’ for a buck person.
But this was different. Because she looked right at me and asked me for some food. Maybe some chow mein and an egg roll. And she apologized. She said she was sorry.
I quickly went inside and ordered her food. A big plate of noodles and her egg roll, with chicken. And since the guy told me an additional item wouldn’t cost any more, I decided to treat her to a plate of orange chicken as well.
As soon as I gave her the food she apologized again and dove into it as if she hadn’t eaten in a week. Which was quite possibly true.
Christians are pretty quick to defend “our” season. We are almost cataclysmic if stores say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. And heaven help the person who suggests that maybe for their own religious reasons, they would rather not participate in the office gift exchange or Christmas party.
But is it possible that God, as He was with Israel is pretty upset with us? Maybe our version of Christmas has just become another empty burnt offering.
Maybe in the face of our hungry fellow man, whether he is in Darfur, Indonesia, an abandoned inner city, or down the street from where we live, our trees, twinkling lights, and rush to get the latest iphone or Wii Fit gadget are the things that the ancient prophet Amos says God despises.
Last night God broke my heart again. I hate when he does that. And believe me, it happens over and over. Because I can be a stubborn guy.
I cannot get that woman out of my mind, and yet I am pretty sure God is okay with that.
Sometimes Christmas can be such a struggle.