It was 17 below zero Christmas morning when I got up to go to church. The only other human being on the road as near as I could tell was the snowplow operator who drove by me on a quiet street. It’s kind of fun to drive through a dark town with the Christmas trees and the lights turned on.  I run a 60 mile course on Sunday’s and I never know what to expect.  It could be like a herd of deer (8 0f them) who nonchalanted across the road in front of me in a rather thick snow cloud, or folks in the ditch because of ice.   This is what I messaged to myself since there had been 6 services on Sunday.

I have three services today, Christmas Day, and of course I’m wondering how many people will be there. Christmas Eve services are usually pretty well attended, the Christmas day not so much. One of the advice givers over the last few weeks said,  “why don’t you just cancel the Sunday morning services and just have Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, or cancel the Christmas day services?”  17 below at 6:30 in the morning and that sounds now like good advice. The problem with that is I’m not in the habit of canceling services. Jesus words, where two or three are gathered together in my name ring out, but there is another serious issue that is always in the back of my head; that someone might show up that really needs to hear. Now of course,  somebody will take that the wrong way and say we all need to hear and that is true. But there are times in life where folks get to a point where of the circumstances all come together and they can really hear.  Funerals are times like that. Someone said about preachers at a funeral that you better be ready with the gospel because the funeral is one of the few times you might actually get through to people. I think Christmas is a time like that too. For so many the season of light is really a season of darkness and sadness and if there’s a time when they’re willing to listen and to hear I don’t want to miss it.

This blog is called Northern Crossings because we talk about the ties that bind us together in Northern Minnesota and North Dakota. We embarked on a joint mission project together, and we seem to send Pastor’s willy-nilly back-and-forth across District boundaries with wild abandon. So I was thinking of the brothers in northern Minnesota and all those on the pine to prairie track and the pastors on the North Dakota side who toil along the prairie roads. 17 below can be bracing and I imagine you all out on the roads surrounded by the quiet forest or out on the howling prairie where the wind chases itself back-and-forth up on the paths you travel  I pray you farewell this morning and I pray that you are ready to preach the good news that someone out there is desperately waiting to hear.  The birth of the Savior is nothing but good news.  I pray you remember it is for you too.

I went into the first Church service in the dark and came out to see this.

I guess 17 below has it’s benefits after all.