Thursday, September 06, 2007

Celebrating Victories

Last Friday night provided a benchmark of sorts...for a town and community, for a High School, for some students, for some football "has-beens" like myself, and for a team of young men. In the waning hours of August 31, something happened that had not happened since 1960. The Calhoun (Georgia) High School Yellow Jacket football team beat the Dalton High School Catamount football team.

For those of you who may read this and know nothing about our community, allow me to put this into perspective. This was very similar to the win that Appalachian State secured over the Michigan Wolverines the following afternoon. Dalton loses very seldom, and when they lose, it is usually to a team in their own class or in a higher class. Calhoun is a Double-AA team and Dalton is a Quadruple-AAAA team.

For me, personally, this was a victory in which I relished. I grew up in Ringgold, Georgia, and we also played the Dalton Catamounts. The last time I saw Dalton lose to Ringgold was in 1981, when I was only eight years old. When I was a junior in High School, we only lost one regular season game, and it was to, you guessed it, Dalton.

To make the victory even more sweet, Calhoun won the game on the very last play when their quarterback threw a "Hail Mary" pass to the five yard line where it was caught and run into the end-zone for the go-ahead score. The stadium on the Calhoun side was in blissful chaos. Grown men were hugging each other, students were jumping up and down, and there were even a few tears of joy in the eyes of some of the fans.

As I left the stadium that night, I took a moment to look at the Calhoun players who were assembled in celebration on the field. I thought to myself, "I hope they really celebrate this victory." Too often, we allow victories to go by too soon. Before the taste of victory is even savored, our attention is turned to the next opponent or the next responsibility.

As a follower of Christ, I believe that life can be lived in victory. No, not a victory which ignores reality and refuses to see the pain in ourselves and in our neighbors, but a victory that is based on the person of Jesus Christ. Because Jesus conquered death and rose from the grave, I believe God is pulling all of us into a victorious future that has already been won. I celebrate this victory with my brothers and sisters in Christ every Sunday when we gather for worship. During worship, we remember the goodness of God, the victory of Jesus, and celebrate the victory over death that we share with him - not because of who we are - but precisely because of who Jesus is and how good He is to us.

The next time victory comes your way, take time to celebrate it. And if you are looking for victory in life, seek the Lord who loves you and has already won a victory on your behalf.