Janet and I are in Dallas this week-end, as I have to work on Monday and after so many trips here (90), Janet was finally able to join me. To be sure, I am very excited to have her with me and I looked forward with great anticipation to staying in the hotel that I have come to know and love throughout the years. In fact, I wrote about it last week.
Well, the love affair is over… We arrived and police had the driveway blocked off due to a parade that had been in the area. Then, after circling the block several times until we could get close, we finally entered the lower lobby to register. Gone were all the fabulous Christmas decorations that have become so familiar throughout the years. The front desk help was marginal at best and when we were assigned a suite, we found ourselves at the end of a long, dark, renovated hall that led to a suite that was so sterile we could have performed surgery in there. It was nothing like the warm, period furnishings I had come to expect and cherish.
Janet took one look and I knew what was next. We were headed back to the lobby. Now know that I am NOT hanging this on Janet – we both were disappointed at the accommodations. But between the traffic jams with the parade and viewing stands in front of the hotel, the gruff front desk help, the loss of the grandeur of the old days and on top of all that, the sanitizing of the Christmas season, it was a far cry from the expectation I had created for Janet.
And, oh, by the way, we tried to have afternoon tea, one of Janet’s favorite things to do, but guess what? They were sold out – except in the hour that we were in the hotel, we saw more than 20 vacant tables and they could have easily accommodated two weary travelers. No such luck. We left the hotel and ended up down the street at another property – much larger with the hustle and bustle that goes with that. But it was so much better than where we were.
There were two things that I really wanted Janet to see while we are in town. That is, aside from the hotel that was a total bust… We were about ten years old when President Kennedy was assassinated and although I have been there before, I wanted Janet to see Dealey Plaza and the 6th Floor Museum at the Texas School Book Depository Building where Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly fired the shots that killed Kennedy. We accomplished that this morning and then we were off to the second assignment – the original Neiman Marcus department store on Commerce Avenue. Each December when I am in town here I usually end up shopping for Janet here. During most of the year the store is closed on Sundays but in December they stay open and that provided us the chance to visit today.
Sure enough, although the sales clerks were very helpful, it is obvious that the decor of the store is changing. The windows are no longer decorated with Christmas scenes, like the old days at Marshall Field’s in downtown Chicago, and have become the plain vanilla windows set to sell designer clothes and other items the store is pushing. Once again, having talked up the holiday spirit in downtown Dallas, Janet was disappointed with the reality when she finally got to the store.
To top it all off, one of my childhood friends used FaceBook earlier today to circulate a video of the Christmas season at Marshall Field’s back in the 50’s and 60’s. How much different things are today! It’s kind of sad. One of the old timers at the hotel we walked out of admitted that the property is under new management and that the change is painful for the old guard. Executives want to be responsive to the bottom line and have put profits ahead of everything else. Answering to boards and stockholders, I am sure that creating Christmas wonderlands isn’t high on their lists. But the change is painful to see.
Last night, Janet and I were driven through a neighborhood that really decorates for the season. In fact, in all our travels, anywhere, we have never seen decorations and yard displays like the ones we saw last night. It was awesome! Hopefully, those owners will keep the spirit and continue the traditions of their past. But like so many other things, it certainly isn’t past outside the realm of possibility that this could also change.
In spite of all these changes – one thing never changes – the constancy and love of God. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow – period. You don’t have to worry about whether the promises He made generations ago are trustworthy today. Or whether He will be there when you have a problem and need to present it before the Father. Moses tried to teach this lesson to the people of God, the Jews, as they left Egypt and crossed the Red Sea. It must have been a scary thing. After all, they had been in captivity more than 400 years and people didn’t know much about God.
And then, Moses held his staff as the Red Sea parted and more than a million people walked across the sea bed on dry land. Wow – what a miracle! Especially as it closed up and swallowed the horses and army of Pharoah who were in pursuit of the Jews. Moses wanted to show these frightened people that God was with them and so he wrote Genesis.
It was written to illustrate the fact that the God who had just saved them from the Egyptians was the same God who had created the heavens and the earth of Genesis 1:1, our verse for the evening. Moses tells us, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth; and the earth was formless and void and the Spirit of God hovered over the surface of the deep.” God was constant – never changing.
My encouragement this evening is that we serve a God who is eternally trustworthy and the same. You can bank on that. My prayer is that you will, for the rest of your life, make sure that you take your concerns to the Father in prayer. Because no matter what else changes in your life, you can depend on the promises of God. You won’t be disappointed. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…