I went for a run on Christmas day. Yes, with a Christmas hat on to keep my head warm! It was quite early in the morning, well before the church’s Christmas service, where I would be playing four Christmas carols on the keyboard. Oh, and well before the family woke up to finish off the cooking and open their presents. Well before I could encounter any sentiment that would attempt to change my mind!
It was a cold morning and there were ice patches on the pavement. Slow down, son. I did not want to start Christmas morning with broken bones! I switched my race to the less-icy road because there were no buses and very few cars. There was hardly anyone out too. As I passed the neighbourhood houses, I imagined turkey-filled ovens and Christmas pudding. A few more hours and the party would begin! Well, the birds were already in party-mood, singing away in the cold; flying freely without Christmas-shopping concerns. I saw a black crow nibbling at some food it did not toil for. Bless them.
Who are these across the road? Early risers like me. Wait, they have a dog! A big dog! It’s not on a lead! It came charging towards me… well, it crossed the road and ran past me, in front of me, the owners shouting some orders. As I passed, I said, “Merry Christmas!” I guessed that’s what the dog came to say anyway. It was in party mood.
A few more meters down the road, I saw more people. And more dogs! Two small dogs. As I came into their view, they started to bark like crazy! Thank God they were on leads! I wondered, as I passed by, why little dogs bark the loudest.
The running app interrupted my thoughts: Distance, Three kilometres. Time split pace, Six minutes thirty seconds… Thank you, my running companion! I’m nearly home, anyway, having decided to cut it short because of the icy conditions. As I entered the door, panting as I always do after a race, I heard the question I had already anticipated. My dear wife asked, “You went running on Christmas day?” Well, yes! “Who goes running on Christmas day?”
The answer? Jesus! Our Lord began His race on “Christmas day,” the race His Father had marked out for Him, the race for our redemption. It started in a manger and ended on a cross, and then a throne. He came to fulfil the volume of books written concerning Him and lived each day to do the will of His Father. This was His food, His preoccupation, His race.
Our race should mirror Christ’s. He has shown us how to run a good race and cross the finish line. Our race may start with baby steps, but if we continue running, it will end in giant strides. It may start in humble beginnings, but can end in an exalted place. Yes, it can start on Christmas day, but should continue unto resurrection day!
Your race, my race, is all about Christ, for Him, by Him, through Him and for His glory. Let us, therefore, keep our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our race.
Compliments of the running season!