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Thursday, July 25, 2024


Compass 12/21/2005

By Al Campbell

They stashed around the house in small mountains.
The Christmas tree, resplendent in myriad tiny white lights and whimsical storybook characters stood in the corner of the living room.
There was no denying, it was nearing Dec. 25.
On the Web, I breezed over some news in the Honolulu Advertiser.
Yes, it was an early big-wave season out there in the Aloha State. Huge waves, some nearly 20 feet and higher, had lured surfers to the North Shore of Oahu. For them, it was Christmas come early, since all they really want is a death-defying ride on a breaking monster that towers above them.
I have an affinity for that place. It’s where I spent memorable times, as I served our nation in the U.S. Navy for two years.  Hey, I didn’t request it, I was only following orders.
Advertiser photos of bodysurfers atop bone-crushing waves made me feel 20 years old. I could smell that unmistakable scent from the North Shore, once again. I felt the coarse, gravel-like sand all over my skin, and remembered flashes from the past.
Enough rambling. This is a piece about Christmas, not surfing.
A story in the Advertiser from the Baltimore Sun. It stated GPS (global positioning system) units are among the season’s most popular gift items.
It stated some insurance company’s survey that discovered popular phrases uttered in vehicles nowadays include, “Do you know where you are going?” and “You missed the turn.”
That set of questions struck me as apropos for a Christmas column.
On the Hand Avenue side of the First Baptist Church in Court House are three wooden shapes of wise men. An adjacent sign proclaims, “Wise Men Still Seek Him.”
Ironic, isn’t it? This agnostic world, which refuses admission of Deity in any way, shape or form, even today, relies upon objects in the heavens to direct its way from here to there.
Those Biblical wise men, three kings from the Orient we are told, intently watched the heavens, and noticed a curious star. They followed that ancient GPS (God Placed Star) across the desert world, and were rewarded for their search by finding a squalling Baby who would turn the world around forever.
Some think it cruel that the modern world takes great pains to eradicate the name or mention of that infant named Jesus, whom many call the Christ. What’s new about that? Herod wanted to do that as soon as he heard a new King was born.
Herod tried to get those Wise Men to tell him where the young King was, so he could worship him. But the Lord God intervened, they departed by another route, guided by yet another GPS, and the Babe escaped with His life, only to be hated by many government officials from that day forward. Nothing has changed through the ages.
Joseph, warned in a dream about impending doom to the Holy Child and his Mother, Mary, took the young family to safety in Egypt, guided, no doubt, by a wondrous heavenly GPS device.
The news story said one of the GPS features many find endearing is its vocal interface, one that speaks directions instead of just putting them on a screen.
People who endeavor to find and know Christ on a regular basis, can attest that the Almighty uses uncanny “voices,” to show us the way. Sometimes they come from strangers, other times from ones we love.
They steer us on the right road, help us make the correct decisions that frail humans alone could not make, and they make life worth living.
What sort of GPS will you use today and tomorrow to guide you on life’s path?
Merry Christmas!
Campbell, who reports on Middle Township, Stone Harbor and the county Technical School, writes from Court House.

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