Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Hard Rock Christmas

Our family enjoys the Hard Rock Café. When we travel we try to visit a Hard Rock Restaurant. We have eaten in the Hard Rock Café in Chicago, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Memphis, Las Vegas and Orlando among others. The food is not that great: It is a little expensive and not that different from a dozen other places that are more economical. Molly likes the Gift Shop. There are all sorts of key chains, t-shirts, posters and pins reminding you how great the Hard Rock Café is. I love the memorabilia. In Memphis we saw guitars from Johnny Cash and Elvis as well as handwritten lyrics by Bob Dylan. In Las Vegas I was able to pose with wax figures of KISS in all their glory and original costumes.

But maybe the best thing about Hard Rock Café is their Mission Statement: “Love All Serve All.” I am sure that it is just a marketing tool for the multi-national corporation that is Hard Rock, but “Love All Serve All” sounds pretty Christian. And even if it is not Christian, I have a hunch that if we take it seriously we can see that it is a pretty “Christmasy” thought.

I am proposing that we all celebrate a Hard Rock Christmas this year by loving all and serving all. Here is what I mean by that:

  • Love everyone. Remember that every person, even the unlikable ones, is created in God’s image. He has asked us to love everyone. The least we can do is love the people who are around us. Open your heart. Accept others. Love them.
  • Care for everyone. Although this may seem a little unusual, or difficult to comprehend, it is not hard to be concerned for people. You will be surprised at the extent to which people around you will tell you their needs and concerns. All you have to do is be interested and express concern for others.
  • Listen to everyone. There are dozens of people in your life who are lonely. Be available to them. Be interested in their lives and what they care about. Give them someone that they can talk to, no matter what.
  • Pray for everyone. Make a list of people who are close to you. Note those you work with, worship with or commute with. Pray for missionaries and the people they minister to. Pray for those who are hurting, hungry, ill, poor or lonely. Prayer is the first step toward putting your caring and love into action.
  • Serve everyone. Loving and caring are just a few short steps from serving. When you care for someone, when you love them, and when you pray for them, you will find very soon that you want to do things for them. Send a card. Prepare a meal. Make a call. It is not as hard to serve others as you might think.

Several years ago I became friends with one of the greeters at Wal-Mart. We would chit-chat as I entered or left the store. During bad weather I walk in the store for exercise. She and I would have daily talks about weather, how busy the store was or what I was shopping for. She learned that I was a pastor and sometimes I introduced my family. Then one day our relationship changed. I got to the store and said, “Hi. How are you today?” Julie said, “My husband died suddenly last week. I am so upset.” In an instant our relationship changed. I was able to listen to and pray for Julie right in the entry of the store because I had let her know that I cared about her.

This Christmas you can do the same. You may not be Hard Rock Café, but you can Love All and Serve All.

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