Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Christmas "Safety Belt"

Photo from:

When my friend Dave Penz was an Army communication specialist, during the Korean War, he had to teach some of the men he worked with how to use a belt and spurs to climb telephone poles.

The trick was to lean back against the belt so the spurs would dig into the wood. But some newbies found it hard to trust the belt. Instead, they’d lean in to grab the pole with arms and legs. Their spurs couldn’t dig in at that angle.

One day an overconfident soldier named Creech got part-way up the pole on his first climb, looked down, and panicked. When he grabbed the pole, he started to slide. By then the pole was so covered with splinters from other mens’ spurs, it looked like a porcupine.

As Creech slid, the splinters stabbed into his inner legs and crotch. Though the onlookers shouted for him to lean back, he couldn’t hear them over his own yelling and screeching. He spent a miserable afternoon at the hospital having the splinters removed, all because he didn’t trust his safety belt.

As we enter another Christmas season, are you dreading lists too long and obligations too many? Would you rather focus on peace, not busyness; joy, not irritation? I would.

I want to spend time with Jesus, whose coming to earth we celebrate. I want to immerse myself in gratitude for the gift he brought, the gift he is. I want to lean into his arms, my “safety belt” against the painful splinters of busy distractions. Don’t you?