By The Rev. Tony Marciano
I am writing this on the one-year anniversary of the blizzard of 2018. OK, it wasn’t two feet of snow. It was more like two inches of snow. Nevertheless, I knew what I had to do.
I got out my snow shovel and cleaned the driveway. As a kid in New Jersey, I learned if you don’t shovel the day the snow falls, it freezes overnight. Where I now live, the position of the house blocks the sun from melting it and it freezes for days on the driveway. My neighbor across the street never shovels his driveway since the sun melts it. Mine becomes solid ice.
That day, I was shoveling snow for two hours. It was heavy. I remembered my uncle having a heart attack after shoveling snow. I didn’t want to be found dead lying in my driveway. The next day, I told my kids what I wanted for Christmas.
I wanted an electric snow shovel. I didn’t want a gas one. The one I wanted was $77 on Amazon. It had an electric plug. I didn’t want a cordless model due to the weight of the battery.
With all the drama of an Italian family, my kids sent 50 text messages trying to decide on the ultimate electric snow shovel. Bigger was better. Finally, one of them said, “Keep this simple. Dad wants this one.”
Christmas Day came and I ripped off the wrapping paper. It was beautiful. I felt like Chevy Chase in his Christmas movie when he is crying in one of the scenes over a gift he receives. I would not be foiled by another blizzard in Charlotte. However, there was one problem.
We never got snow. To be honest, I did take it out of the box and assembled it. I never used it. Without snow, I thought of using it to clear leaves but was told I would break it. It did get moved around the garage quite a bit. I was concerned it would get broken without every seeing a snowflake. Finally, I hung it in the shed where it sat all spring, summer and fall, waiting to learn what snow was.
Sometimes the gifts we get go unused. They weren’t what we wanted. We don’t see its relevance. Can it really meet our needs? The anticipation doesn’t meet our expectation and we find ourselves disappointed.
I’m sure if I was a shepherd and came to the manger that first Christmas, I would have been disappointed. I would have walked away thinking, “Really angels, you give us a baby? This is the best you can do? We needed a warrior and you give us an infant. Not only is it a baby, but it’s a baby born to parents who were very poor. They also didn’t plan for a hotel room before arriving in Bethlehem causing their baby to be born in a stable. Not good planning. His father was a carpenter. That’s not a good pedigree to be a military conqueror and liberate us from Roman tyranny.
God’s gift that first Christmas can also be left in the box. We come with so much anticipation into Christmas but find it didn’t meet our expectations and walk away disheartened.
The shepherds arrived at the stable and found more than a baby lying in a manger. They got to see the face of God.
I’m not forgetting about this electric snow shovel. Truth is, I hope we don’t get snow so I don’t have to use it. However, if I do, I will be grateful for the gift I received from my kids.
I’ll be back soon. Until then, live well my friend.
The Rev. Tony Marciano is the president/CEO of the Charlotte Rescue Mission.