Last night was our city's Christmas Parade. It wasn't a holiday parade, it was clearly called the city's Christmas Parade. Our church had a float that my dad spent quite a bit of time decorating and he pulled it with his truck. It was great fun to ride on the float and wave to people. I was in many a parade back in my teenage days when I was in the band, but this is different. In band, I was concentrating on playing my clarinet or being drum major and keeping everyone together and in step, etc. This was different because it's low pressure. I want to share a couple of things that I thought of while riding down the street last night.
1. Everyone dropped the political correctness and there was an ease as people shouted "Merry Christmas!" They weren't afraid of offending anyone, they were truly joyful as they said it.
2. You can tell a lot about people by looking into their eyes. I saw a lot of people that I didn't know as we rode through the parade route and I tried to establish eye contact with as many people as I could. As I did, I offered a warm "Merry Christmas," but I also prayed for each individual. There were people there that I could tell had a lot going on in their lives. They were trying to enjoy being in the moment, but you could see there was a story behind their eyes. Haven't you ever plastered on the fake smile in an attempt to forget about your worries and problems? I know I have and I witnessed others doing so last night. It was my privilege to go to the Lord on their behalf and ask that He work in their lives.
3. I spotted the sweetest baby in the crowd. His dad was holding him and sitting on the curb. I'm not sure how old he was, maybe 3 or 4 months old, but he was just watching the lights and taking it all in and just so quiet. But I noticed his eyes and the innocence and I thought about baby Jesus, the reason we celebrate Christmas. I thought about how if Jesus came as a baby today, Joseph might have taken him to a parade and spent time in other activities that we do each day. One of the most extraordinary things about Jesus was that he came in an ordinary way, as a baby and I'm sure Mary changed her share of dirty diapers and sang her share of lullabys for a fussy baby.
It was a great time and the positive energy from the crowd as well as those in the parade made it a wonderful evening. We came home and drank hot chocolate and watched a family movie together.
I'm so glad we were a part of the Christmas Parade and as I meet others in the stores or anywhere else I go, I will continue to say Merry Christmas, for truly it is the Christmas season and I make no apologies for that.