It was supposed to be a secret.
The secret was that our son was proposing to his girlfriend at our church a couple of weeks ago. It was a secret to her. I knew. Natalie knew. Her parents knew. Tyler’s friends knew. Our church staff knew something was up because I told them to make sure the sanctuary would be off-limits that morning. So, a few people knew, but his soon-to-be fiancé did not.
So, he pulled it off perfectly. He proposed to her in our church sanctuary, a place that holds special meaning for him. I was thrilled with that, by the way. She was surprised; she cried, heck we all did.
So, the next day at church when we were spreading the good news about Tyler’s engagement, several of Natalie’s friends said, “Oh, I knew about that two weeks ago.” Hmmm. I wonder how they knew?
It’s hard to keep a secret.
A little boy loved to go fishing with his daddy and granddad, Paw. The little boy would rush home from school and wait for his dad to arrive home from work. His paw would already be there on the front porch with his fishing pole in hand. When his dad finally arrived, the men folk would tell mama what kind of sandwiches they wanted for lunch to pack into the cooler. Usually it was pimento cheese or tomato with mayonnaise. Mama always packed an extra one for paw.
And off they went. Dad and Paw were good fishermen and almost always caught a big one. It was important for a little boy trying to be a man to catch a fish. ‘Cause when you got back home the womenfolk always asked what you had caught.
On this particular day the little boy hadn’t caught a thing. Nothing. He dreaded going home knowing that the women folk would ask, “What did you catch?”
Well, daddy and Paw got thirsty and so they gave some money to the little boy and said “Why don’t you run over to the store across the road and get us all a cold drink.”
“But what about my pole?”
“We’ll watch it for you. You hurry along now.”
And so he did. He came back with Nehi grape and orange sodas. (This was a long time ago.) As soon as he got back he noticed his cork under water. “I got one. I got one.” He pulled in that fish with all the strength a little boy could muster. It was a big one all right. Well maybe it wasn’t so big but that doesn’t matter.
You know what? Years later he learned the truth—the secret. He didn’t catch that fish. While he was gone to get those cold drinks, his dad and Paw put that fish on his line. Why? Because they loved him.
I’m just wondering how many fish I have caught that I really didn’t catch. They were a gift to me. Out of love. Friends. Salvation. Gifts. All of them to me. All I did was go and get the cold drinks.
Christmas is God’s greatest gift to the world. But don’t be hush, hush about it.