This morning, I received an email from Brad, our local running club's Chief Communicator. Along with some race results and announcements, he included his thoughts on Christmas. They express, better than I can, many of my thoughts today. So, I post them here for you.
Today is Christmas Eve. Below is a Christmas message that has my observations of the similarities of being a runner and being a Christian.
There are also similarities between our running club and what the Christian church should be.
Anybody can join: You do not need to already be a runner. There are no minimum distance or speed requirements to join or continue membership.
We rejoice in what others accomplish: We do not envy those who do things we have not done but instead celebrate with them.
We help each other without charging a fee: We gladly share everything we know with other runners to help them be better.
We do not condemn others when they fail: we know people who have dropped out of a race or had a time that is way slower than their goal. We provide assurance that they have not failed as a person even though one particular goal was not reached. We assure them that their options are to try again or instead recognize that being a runner does not mean that you must have a certain accomplishment on your log.
We all care about each other and provide things that are needed: People have given me sunscreen, a hat during a race (Sam Costa half), and words of encouragement.
We understand that there are universal rules and particular rules. Certain rules apply to everybody (like staying on a course during a race) yet, most "rules" are in the "do what works for you" category. For example, those who eat gel during a marathon do not pass judgment on those who do not and vice versa.
We accept those who join late in life the same as those who ran in high school. We continue to accept people who do not reach their goals. We simply hope that they will keep trying to discover their potential and be content.
I hope your experience with our local club (and runners in general) has been as positive as mine.
So what is Christmas? It is simply one day set aside to celebrate the coming of the Christ. Christ is simply a Greek word that means "anointed one". The anointing refers to the Spirit of God being on him without measure. Who is Christ? Christ is like Pheidippides. Pheidippides then ran the 40 km (25 miles) from the battlefield near Marathon to Athens to announce the Greek victory over Persia (Iran) in the Battle of Marathon (490 BC) with the word "We have won" and collapsed and died on the spot from exhaustion. Christ also came a long way to deliver a message and then died of exhaustion. In short, his message was "you need treat each other like runners instead of what you are doing now".
Merry Christmas and thanks for being a runner.
I wish each of you the very best this Christmas. And may we each continue to persevere.