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It was one of those rare wintry days on the campus of Asbury Seminary with snow drifting over the sidewalks and students slipping and sliding, intentionally and without serious intent! I needed to mail a letter and decided to trek the extra distance to the Wilmore post office, rather than mail the letter at the much more convenient seminary post office. I wanted to enjoy walking in the now gentle cascade of snowflakes and the not so gentle brisk wintry wind.

As I walked with head slightly turned down as if I was cutting through the winter wind, I noticed a small red glove nestled in a snow bank. The path I had chosen to the post office was the same children used to walk to school. I picked the glove up, searched for the mate without success. The glove obviously belonged to a child in the elementary school, probably a little girl. I mused that she should have immediately missed the glove and was probably walking home with one hand in her pocket and throwing snowballs with the gloved hand. I placed the glove back on top of the snow bank with the hope she would return. I returned to the snow bank for the next five days checking on the unclaimed glove. Finally the snow melted and the glove became part of the "stuff" that collects after the pristine white snow disappears.

Last winter, I found another red glove in a snow bank along the sidewalk in front of the church. Once again I checked every day, believing some child would return and rescue the mate to their remaining little red glove. With sadness I watched the unclaimed glove become part of the "stuff" remaining after the spring thaw.

Our immediate reaction swings from wondering how a child could be so very irresponsible to lose a glove in the middle of a snow storm to bewilderment why a parent would not escort their child to the most obvious path of the lost glove.

How many red gloves have we lost in our day and we simply moved on in life? Most of you reading this Christmas letter have a relationship with Jesus. Yet, some may have lost part of the passion, accountability, closeness, seriousness, or dedication you once had. Perhaps it is impossible to retrace our steps to the place the red glove slipped from our soul. We did not deliberately toss the red glove on a snow bank with the intent of allowing it to become embraced and absorbed in the "stuff" remaining after the snow has melted away.

I want to invite you to a sacred moment when you can retrieve your lost red glove, no questions asked and no chiding permitted. Christmas Eve worship is a wonderful time to re-discover what may have been partially lost in your life. Is your red glove the loss of spiritual peace, intimate relationship with God, a sense of the holy, the wonder of God’s love, the fellowship of the redeemed, perhaps the knowledge of a personal relationship with the living God on a day to day basis? I look forward to greeting you this Christmas with the eternal message of God’s redeeming love. Your red glove awaits you. It still fits.

(Story used in an invitational letter to attend Christmas Eve Service, 2008)

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