My daughter came home from school. It was a day like any other. I asked how her day had gone and she went on to describe it. They had had an assembly that day with a motivational speaker. Afterwards the speaker’s representative stopped my daughter in the hall and asked if she would like to meet that day’s presenter. She was busy with those concerns that consume teenage girls (still a mystery to me) and relied “No thank you.” and hurried on. I prodded a bit and discovered that the speaker was “some guy named Paul Henderson.” I was aghast!
There are certain “Where were you?” moments in our lives. Where were you when you heard John Kennedy had been assassinated? Where were you when the planes crashed into the towers? These moments are few and far between. They are memorable markers we carry throughout our lives. Such a moment for many Canadians of the Boomer generation is “the goal” scored by Paul Henderson. Canada and Russia had engaged in the ultimate contest for world supremacy and Canada looked very much like it was coming up short when an unlikely hero stepped onto the stage of history. In 1972 Paul Henderson who had a decent but hardly stellar NHL career popped in winner after winner in this high-stake contest. In the final seconds of the final match, he scored the tying and winning goals. Canada’s superiority remained intact. This was a moment of national pride such that we had never had before or since. It was much more than a game! Our identity itself hinged on the outcome and Paul Henderson saved the day.
It was this Canadian icon that my daughter blithely brushed off that day! I had no words. She had passed on an opportunity that most red-blooded Canadian Boomers would have leapt at! There was something wrong here! I realized that it was my fault. I had not communicated the extraordinary impact of that goal and that series. How was she to know the opportunity presented to her if I had never told her. I remained chagrinned at the epic parental communications failure which was on exhibit that day.
We laugh about this today, but communications failure has a tremendous impact still today. At this Christmas Season people are invited to come and meet the Christ Child. The invitation is everywhere and cannot be missed but too many brush it off because they have no sense of who it is they are being invited to meet. It is not their fault anymore than it was my daughter’s fault that she did not know Paul Henderson. We need to be better at communicating the story. We need to be better at communicating how important Jesus is to us. Otherwise, the invitation inherent in Christmas is wasted. What a shame that will be. It does not take particular skill to communicate those things with which we are passionate. Let us take opportunity to share the impact that first Christmas has had on us and our lives so others will have some sense of who they are invited to meet.