Sometimes in life we get things a little out of order. We get the cart before the horse. Christmas is one of those times. Christmas morning is the beginning of the celebration, not the end. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

We all have heard the line, you can’t win if you don’t finish. Yogi Berra might have said it this way, “90% of the cars that don’t finish won’t win the race.” At the driver’s meeting the familiar refrain is, “you can’t win the race on the first lap, be patient.” You can however lose the race on the first lap.

Therein lies the problem, we tend to get so caught up in so many things that we forget what is really important. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ. We mark that day as December 25, but we really don’t know. Let’s try to take a different look at things this year. Let’s try to get things straight. Let us prepare to worship the king. That means slowing down and thinking about the priority of things.

During the year there are many significant dates. On the racing calendar the beginning of the season comes to mind. Speed-weeks marks the beginning of the racing season for many of us. For Christians Christmas marks the beginning of the life of Christ, Emmanuel, God with us.

We race for the finish line, but how many of us race to the starting line? The prophet Isaiah foretold the coming birth of our Savior.

Isaiah 9-6; For to us a child is born,

    to us a son is given,

    and the government will be on his shoulders.

  And he will be called

    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah helps us understand the character of our Savior; wonderful, mighty, everlasting, giver of peace. It also helps us understand the priority he should have in our lives; God, father, prince and counselor. Isaiah told of the Savior yet to come. On the night of Jesus’ birth the angels proclaimed to the shepherds his arrival.

Luke 2:8-1; And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.

The shepherds left their flocks and went to find this Savior. When they found him they went out and proclaimed his glory. They looked for the beginning and made it a priority. The Savior is coming, are we focused on the true meaning of Christmas? Will we run to his side and claim him as our own or will we be too busy chasing after the things of the world that keep us busy?

I have often thought of what I would do if an angel of the Lord came and visited me. Do you remember Mary and Joseph? Each one received a visit. The angel announced what would take place with each of them, Mary would be with child and Joseph would take Mary for his wife. Together they would be responsible for bringing a child into the world that would be the savior of the world.

Would I embrace the call? Would I respond as Mary did “May it be with me as you have said, I am the Lord’s servant.”? Would I be too busy to even notice?  We all have the decision to make. Jesus himself came to demonstrate his love for us. Will we accept it? Will we even break away from our busyness to notice?

 Luke 2:4-7; Joseph went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

 Christmas means nothing if we don’t have the right focus. The race doesn’t end when we get there, it is the beginning. Let’s get things started! This Christmas season take time to begin anew, take time to contemplate what took place 2,000 years ago for you and me. For unto us a child is born, a gift was given, a savior was born.

SAYING SO LONG FOR NOW– As we get ready to celebrate it is difficult to face the loss of such an important figure in Modified Racing. Phil Kurze, the name behind the Whelen sponsorship that saw the resurgence of NASCAR Modified Tour went home to the Lord. He wanted to see the Modified Tour return to prominence. He not only breathed life into the Tour but added his support to the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, The NASCAR Whelen All American Series and the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. The Mod Tour was his baby though.

He made sure there was a place in the NASCAR Hall of Fame for every NASCAR Champion. He also made sure our Everyday Heroes would not be forgotten and each year at the NASCAR Touring Banquet First Responders are recognized and honored. Phil left his stamp on the racing community. He valued the grassroots short track racer. He made sure they were recognized and honored.

Phil was more than a sponsor, he was a member of the family.  He took the time to get to know you and supported your efforts. He wanted to know you and what was going on in your life. He was a familiar sight in the garage, talking to people, checking in on their lives. He remembered your name and situation. He truly wanted to know how things were going. We will miss that. Our deepest condolences go out to his family. We will always remember him.

We can learn from Phil, take the time and invest it in your relationships. Talk with each other. This holiday season take the time, make the effort to build closer relationships, let’s get this started! Merry Christmas to you all and a Happy New Year! Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.