The bar was a little smoky and there were some booths made of dark wood with high backs, offering privacy from the other people who had come to play pool, flirt, drink or talk.
It was August in South Carolina. The air conditioning was in a hopeless battle with the Clemson students who were flowing in and out, unworried about how much their slow, social ingresses and egresses were affecting the temperature in the joint. The constant invasion of the warm air from the outside upon the cold air inside made for a kind of unnatural humidity that often defined a public establishment’s atmosphere during the summer. It was one of the things I had grown to dislike in the two months I’d been living in South Carolina because my hair remained in a constant state of curl/frizz even when I was indoors.
I think I’d picked up a pool cue twice in my entire 24 years. “I’ve never played pool for real,” I said when he suggested this location for what would be our fifth date. “I have no idea how to even hold the stick. All I know is it’s bad when the white ball goes into the holes.”
“They’re called pockets,” he said, a smile in his voice. “I’ll teach you. You have to learn if you’re going to live down here. It’s one of the few things to do on a Saturday night.”
So we went to the bar and we waited in a booth for our turn at a billiard table. When one became available, he showed me how to hold the cue. Then he leaned over beside me to help adjust my stance, telling me to gaze down stick. One arm over my shoulders, his other arm adjusting the pool cue, his face was next to mine. When I looked at him, the man who would become my husband kissed me for the first time.
An unforeseen kiss. The most memorable one of my life.
I heard this song by the David Crowder Band in church last week and immediately thought of that first, unforeseen kiss from my husband. It wasn’t the first time I’d heard the song, but this time, in the context of preparing for Christmas, it stayed with me, reaching my heart.
It’s a description of the miracle of Christmas that I can wrap my brain around because I’ve personally experienced an unforeseen kiss. By sending Jesus into our world as a man, God gave us a commonality of experience. He’s not just the divine. He lived as a man, and we can relate.
The song has been in my head all week, conjuring up other moments in my life when heaven and earth have collided for me – sometimes in big ways, sometimes small ones. The birth of my children, a moment of peace while walking on the beach, a beautiful sunrise, a family dinner filled with conversation and laughter, my Baptism, the Baptism of my husband, coffee with my best friend . . . so many of life’s moments are filled with a collision of the holy and the ordinary.
So that’s how I’m approaching Christmas this year and how I plan to ring in 2016 – in search of the daily collisions of the holy and the ordinary, because that’s where the blessings are and where He is.