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Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

I am a self proclaimed coffee addict and Executive Director of a non profit missions agency working primarily in the Mexican cities of Oaxaca, Guadalajara, and Ensenada. I've been married for over 30 years to Chelle, and we have one grown son, Joseph, a graduate of Auburn University in Alabama.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

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.

Comments on "Maybe Some Chow Mein and an Egg Roll"


Blogger James' Muse said ... (1:13 PM) : 

Wow, Dave, this was a really good post. I agree. I feel like Christmas is empty now. I actually dread it coming.

My church is doing the "advent conspiracy" thing. We scaled back our gift giving this year, and in our family's names, we are buying a "hope basket" from Heifer international, which includes a chicken and seeds, so a family can not only raise chickens and eggs for food, but also as a livlihood.

Dave, with your permission, may I repost and/or cross post with this post over at my blog?


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (1:19 PM) : 

Of course James...

And i like the Heifer Project stuff.

It makes a difference.


Blogger Tim said ... (4:05 PM) : 

I am currently reading Ezekiel. I, too, wonder if God is turning away from America as he did with Israel.

i also feel, as James does, that Christmas sort of feels empty this year. A total lack of a spiritual connection for some reason. I can't put my finger on it. I hope that it changes when the day actually comes. I've been jetting around all week, I'm taking my son skiing next week for several days and squeezing in a service call as well and we'll be home on Christmas Eve. We got the tree on Sunday but I had to leave before it "fell" so didn't get to be in on decorating it. Will get to see it for the first time tomorrow, and then not again for several days.


Blogger rockync said ... (8:45 PM) : 

Dave what first came to mind was,"Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unaware." Hebrews 13:2
Perhaps she was meant to be shared with all of us as a reminder.
Shouldn't this be not only about Christmas but also about our lives; helping each other to get by.


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (8:53 PM) : 

Rocky, How much better might we be if that were true.

Tim, I seldom think that God turns from us, but that we tend to turn from Him, and then claim the other side.

I guess that is my NT theology speaking. Stuff like Munger's "My Heart Christ's Home" and his picture of Christ always waiting for us has had a strong effect on me.


Blogger Shaw Kenawe said ... (6:12 AM) : 

Hi Dave,

This post is what Christmas is supposed to represent. I will link to it in an upcoming post. Hope you don't mind.

Both you and James mentioned Heifer International. I am proud of my niece, Pat Keay, who has been with that organization for 20 years.

She just recently returned from a trip to Romania and Poland on behalf of Heifer.

It is a very worthy organization.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas.


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (10:16 AM) : 

Thanks Shaw and no, I don't mind.

Great to hear you are on the mend. Blessings to and all of your family this Christmas season.


Blogger Beth said ... (9:48 PM) : 

I truly believe that people's paths cross for a reason, the woman you helped crossed your path for a reason, and I even feel that way about the bloggers who I have stumbled upon, such as me coming to your blog tonight, it's for a reason.

God bless you and Merry Christmas!


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (9:55 PM) : 

Have a great Christmas Beth...


Blogger Beth said ... (10:03 PM) : 

Thanks, Dave, I am going to add your blog to my list!


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