I'm not one that puts a lot of stock in shotgun theology; you know, randomly opening the Bible to read the first passage you find.
After all, what if you end up turning to the book of Numbers and find verse after verse about the numbering of Israel. Or stumble upon a section in Genesis listing the "begats."
But I'm human and I still sometimes out of curiosity open the Bible and check out the verse that first appears when the pages fall.
Sometimes I do it when I'm not curious, but feeling lost and a passage doesn't instantly spring to mind. Like the time last week when I felt grief over the fact this will be the 20th Christmas since I was last with my immediate family, my parents and my sisters.
I had no idea at the time, of course, that Christmas would be the last with all of us together. In the Christmases since then those feelings and memories have become more and more distant.
All of a sudden, though, I've felt considerable emotion and sadness about that last Christmas. When it overtook me the other day, I in tears did the shotgun approach and just opened the Bible.
I looked down to see that I had turned to the book of Lamentations. I laughed out loud. Very funny God, I thought. So I read further on the page I had blindly flipped to and it was background about the book of Lamentations. It said the Hebrew name for the book is essentially "How?"
I thought that was pretty cool, reminded myself to not ask God why...but to see how He has worked in my life since that last Fannin family Christmas.
My memory jolted to realize that last Christmas with parents and sisters was also the first Christmas with my wife Joni. Even then without me knowing it He was planning the next transition in my life, from the old family to the new.
My spirits brightened considerably and I'm thanking God anew for the season and its reason.
Whether it is the shotgun approach or a systematic schedule, open your Bible. Read God's Word as you celebrate the Word brought to life.
And here are two more words: Merry Christmas!