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December 25, 2015

The Air Up There

I’m not much of a basketball player. I know that’s hard for those of you who know me to believe. My body just wasn’t built for the game. Growing up I was far too vertically challenged to have much success at the game. That lack of success quickly turned into a lack of interest. My lack of interest perpetuated a noticeable lack of skill. The aforementioned lack of skill meant that anytime I did venture out on the court it was quickly and heartily reaffirmed that I was not much of a basketball player.

I was only on one basketball team in my entire life, (aside from fumbling my way through pick-up games when it was socially unavoidable). It was my elementary school team when I was in eighth grade. As far as I recall I sat on the bench pretty much all season. My class was the oldest in the school, but I’m sure there were some sixth and seventh graders who were higher up on the depth chart than I was and for good reason. I only remember actually setting foot on the court in one game. I assume we must have been behind by more buckets than KFC sells in Japan on Christmas eve. There was no hope of salvaging a win – that’s when guys like me get to play. I have only one clear memory of that game, I assume I’ve blocked the rest out. I recall somehow ending up with the ball and in panicked desperation immediately launching a brick up from center court. Needless to say, it didn’t go in. In fact, it didn’t hit the net, or the rim or the backboard.

Although my skill at hoops is inarguably deficient, I do have a moderate grasp of how the game works, including one of the most critical elements – the pivot foot. The rule goes something like this: when you have the ball, but are not dribbling (bouncing) it, you are only allowed to move one foot. You’re other Air Jordan must stay on the ground and in one place at all times. You can turn left, you can fake right, you can pirouette if you really want to as long as that one foot stays fixed to the floor. Your entire body is able to move in virtually any way it wants to as long as your sole is glued to the hardwood.

As I consider the importance of Christmas it strikes me that the incarnation of Jesus is meant to be our pivot point. It is our anchor. It is the thing that no matter what else is going on, it remains fixed. The world may turn, situations may change, my life my spin wildly, but this one point remains firm and solid. Time goes by, the world evolves, people age, health wanes, technology advances at light speed, but this one thing is true and constant. Uncertainty may churn around me, the unknown may loom ahead of me, the mistakes of the past may clutch and grab at me from behind, but Jesus is the one thing I can always count on. As the writer of Hebrews says:
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8 NIV)

So, as the activity of this season swirl around you the next couple days, or once the rat race of reality resumes next week, take a moment to refocus your thoughts on what really counts. Pause for a minute to recalibrate your life based on that one fixed point that never moves, never changes and never fails. When you think about it, it really is a slam dunk.

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