1st decade of the 21st century of the 3rd millennium

Ten years ago I was sitting on the bus behind the big arena in Winston Salem, North Carolina waiting for all the world's computers to crash. When it happened, society as we knew it was scheduled to end. Not that I'd done anything to prepare for the sudden dark ages. Honestly, if I'd really thought something that big was going to happen I'd have been back home in Kentucky where Mark Twain said he wanted to be when the world came to an end because it's always twenty years behind.

About 9,000 people were inside the arena taking in the first couple of acts. It would be our turn in an hour or two, closer to the local countdown to destruction. The contract for this particular show required all of the artists to be on the stage, singing full voice at midnight. I wondered what would happen if all-of-the-sudden the lights went out. The stage was in the round, so we were surrounded by the audience. Would there be enough security there with flash lights to get us all off the stage, through the crowd, to a safe place? What if all the batteries in those flashlights got wind of the plan and stopped working too? With no sound system to give amp to a calm voice of direction, would there be pandemonium and chaos? Was there indeed a plan? Was THAT built into our contract?

So I sat on the bus wondering what might happen and scanning the channels to see how the folks who'd already flipped their calendars were coping. As it turned out, if the lights even flickered nobody noticed.

I don't know what I was expecting. The months and weeks leading up to - or counting down to the new year/decade/century were filled with warnings from some and dismissals from others. Some of the most dire predictions I heard actually came from a few TV preachers who had taken advantage of the occasion by offering anointed survival kits. For a gift to the Lord's work of $75 you and your spouse can live to tell about it. For $50 more your kids can join you. I knew people who took all of the uncertainty very seriously. They stocked up on canned goods, duct tape and supplies. I knew a couple of folks who built shelters and cellars. They weren't taking any chances. I'm not sure what use they have for them now.

I consider myself and all the other pre-two thousanders survivors. Now, celebrating the first ten years of the twenty-first century of the third millennium, I feel like we've come a long, long way. It's hard to imagine what'll pop up in the days and decades ahead. To be honest with you, when I was a kid I thought we'd be wearing tin-foil jumpers and strapping into hover-cars by now. So did Walt Disney.


junked up christmas

Pop in at my place unannounced and it's likely you'll find me looking pretty comfy. Unless I'm expecting company, I usually don't dress for company. Otherwise it's shorts and a t-shirt or sometimes my bath robe and PJs. If I don't figure anyone but me is around to notice, I may let a pair of shoes or a half-read book lay around for a day or two. I may even allow the plates and coffee cups to sit in the sink 'til there are enough to bother with. Still though, I prefer to know if you're coming.

It's Christmas now. So with lots of family and loads of friends popping in and out, the plan is to try and keep me, my place and my things as presentable as possible. Be prepared for the president, I say. I can be and have been, but it's hard to catch me unprepared for guests this time of year. Show up on my doorstep right now and I can legitimately offer you a bite of something, a cup of something or a glass of something and a nice, clean place to enjoy it. Knowing this time was coming, I was able to prepare.

Back when Herod was fuming about this new kid king he'd been hearing about; back when the shepherds were wondering where those voices were coming from, their heads or the sky, and if it had anything to do with the field grass they were smoking, er, sleeping on; back when the inn-keeper was wondering what the commotion in the barn was all about and second guessing if it was smart to send a pregnant woman out there; back when star gazers showed up on the Joseph family door with expensive gifts for a baby who'd already been walking on that sort of thing; back when prophet after priest after pulpiteer predicted he was coming and just this way, it was still like no one expected it when baby Jesus showed up in Bethlehem.

It appears that the world was startled and not a little rattled that God dropped in all-of-the-sudden via a Mary and a manger. They obviously weren't expecting him when and where and how he came. The house was a mess. The place wasn't ready. Everybody was living like there'd be no company, lounging around in their comfort wear. Had they known a king was coming they would've at least tried to tidy the place up a bit; kick the crumbs under the rug; toss the piled up clothes in the spare room; close the door; break out the Febreze; hide the mail; throw the dishes in the washer; put on a suit, brush the teeth, comb the hair... And, this was THE King - cause for a good, thorough scrubbing.

He was a baby and a human, yes. As God though, I'm thinking that Jesus knew well what he was coming into. We could've painted the place up, put on a new outfit and showed up in a Lamborghini, but I'm not convinced he'd be convinced of our success or our cleanliness. He'd know that we don't really live in museums, that we only wear suits when the rules and/or expectations make us. He also knows that sometimes pot holes are unavoidable regardless of the ride. God knows we don't smile all the time.

Sometimes I cheat. When I get short notice that company's coming, instead of cleaning stuff up I hide it. Please, PLEASE don't come to my house expecting a grand tour. Some rooms are off limits. There's junk in there. And God knows it. That's why He came. That's why we have Christmas.