by Shawn McEvoy
"I've laid down a pattern for you. What I've done, you do.
I'm only pointing out the obvious...
If you understand what I'm telling you, act like it - and live a blessed life."
John 13:15-17, The Message
I was very close to my father. He was the best man in my wedding, and growing up, when a lot of my peers were spending their weekend nights partying, I was usually happier to spend an evening with my dad watching a movie over ice cream.
One of the reasons I loved spending time with him was because I knew the Lord in a personal way... and he didn't. Sure, he was raised a "cultural Catholic," and was even an altar boy, but he'd definitely fallen away from any semblance of faith, and we all knew that he'd never been saved.
For several years, Dad was pretty much my pet project. I was always sharing with him when I could, always witnessing, always loving on him. I was continually lifting up prayers to God for his salvation, always trusting and somehow knowing it would eventually come to pass. And it did, 17 years after it had for me, and four years before he died. It's one reason his death - even though he was only 57 - wasn't nearly as devastating as it might have been to me.
He passed away in August of 2001. I stayed with my mom for a few weeks to help out before flying home on the evening of September 10 - yep, the night before a whole lot more stuff changed for a whole lot of us. I was in graduate school at the time, though I ended up taking a semester off to deal with all that had happened. So that Fall was a very strange time for me.
But then, as is so often true, there was Christmas...
We were at my in-laws' house that year. Somewhere in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve I was awoken, not by reindeer on the roof, but by a rainbow in my mind. It came to me in a dream, out of the darkness, but as if I were awake. One minute there was an immense, black screen before my eyes. Then, just like in a cartoon, someone pushed a section of the blackness out of the way, revealing just a square inch of the most amazing colors. It was my dad.
He was young, tan, and radiant, and he was wearing a smile bigger than any he'd smiled on earth. He didn't linger long. He simply said, "Shawn! Shawn-o! You were right! You were right about all this! But you're not living like it!"
Intersecting Faith & Life: The rest of this story is mine, and for the most part, I'm blessed to say I'm "living like it" a lot more since then, a few bumps in the road excepted. Ask yourself: if it were confirmed to you that everything you believe from the Word of God, and everything you've preached was true, right, and absolute, what would you do? What would you no longer waste time doing? With whom would you share, and how would your purpose and daily life change? Because guess what... it is true! You're right!
Live Today in Light of Heaven
The Characters of Christmas is a podcast created to help you take a fresh look at the Christmas story by getting to know the minor characters that played a part in Jesus’ birth. It is the companion to Dan Darling's book "The Characters of Christmas: The Unlikely People Caught Up in the Story of Jesus."