The Practice of the Better – Christmas Eve

For the past 20 years I’ve put on Christmas Eve services, I must say I’ve done some beautiful ones.

One year, I remember filling the lobby with four distinct images that told the story of Jesus. My favorite one was a black and white picture of a desert tree which spoke of life amidst dryness.

But today, I find myself at a loss. I no longer put on Christmas Eve services, I no longer sing on a stage or put images on the screen, instead yesterday I went to church twice and slept through most of it.

Richard Rohr says that the best way to deal with change is the “practice of the better”. In other words, the best way to handle change is not bitterness or immobility, but to build something new.

So what does the practice of the better look like this Christmas Eve? What does it look like to be on mission with Jesus today?

I sold my guitar.

What? What does that have anything to do with Christmas?


A few days ago, I was talking to one of our helpers at work, he’s undocumented, sleeps on a friend’s couch and hasn’t seen his wife and 14 year old son in over two years. He’s hoping to make ends meet to be able to send his son a used game for his PSP this Christmas.

The other day he told me he went to Guitar Center and saw his dream guitar, it cost $900.00. He told me “I thought my dream for music had died, but the minute I played that guitar and felt it on my hands, it all came back.”

So I went home, put my beautiful black Gibson Chet Atkins on eBay and sold it for $1000.00. Next week, I will go with him to Guitar Center and buy him his dream guitar.

Will this make him happy? I don’t know. Will he now be able to go home and see his family again? I doubt it.

But even though it’s been hard, in my heart of hearts, I know this is the practice of the better. To give sacrificially, not because it’s easy, but because it’s what God told me to do, that’s the practice of the better.

At our house, we used to say “let’s go to Christmas Eve”, now we say, “All of life is Neighbors Abbey”. (Neighbors Abbey is the name of our missional house church). Today, instead of children’s choirs, bright lights and Christmas sets, eBay and Guitar Center are the images that kindle my heart.

This is Christmas Eve.

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