I am in LA on business and found an unexpected California Christmas. At the breakfast bar at my hotel, I was waiting for my organic carrot-ginger juice and cappuccino (when in Rome) when a man walked in dressed in full firefighting gear. He was grabbing a cup of coffee and a bagel before heading up the coast to fight one of the worst wild fires in California’s history. It was like one of those moments in the airport when a soldier walks through….everyone stops for a moment and spontaneous applause breaks out. I wanted to purchase the firefighter’s breakfast, but I was not nearly quick enough. There was no applause at the breakfast bar, but the moment was not lost on anyone. People here know that they are only one good gust of wind away from disaster.
What is called the “Thomas fire” (because it began near the Thomas Aquinas College) is still raging up the coast of California. As with all natural disasters, the destruction moves through the cities and towns with no regard to race or color or economic status. Multi-million dollar homes fall as quickly as the simple structures. The town of Montecito was hit hard. It is home to celebrities like my old friend, Oprah Winfrey. All the money in the world can buy you a beautiful home on the ocean but it can not protect you from the world. We know that. We are all just “one good gust away from disaster.” When Jesus said “in this world you will have trouble,” he wasn’t kidding. In fact, while the Wise Men were giving Jesus their gifts, Herod was pulling together his men to go out and kill every Jewish baby boy in the area. Even the manger was” just one good gust” away.
Please join me this morning to pray for all of those affected by the fires in California and for the brave firemen to go out to battle the blaze each day.
Grace and Peace at Advent.