In the year 2005, our family was going to drive to Florida on Christmas Day, at least part of the way. And so I said to the girls and my wife, I said, “Think of someplace fun you want to have Christmas dinner, someplace special.” About 5:30 that evening we started getting hungry, and I said, “OK start looking for someplace good to eat.”……and we didn’t find any place. We were in Kentucky and made it to Tennessee around 8 o’clock, still looking for someplace fine to eat. We did find a Chinese restaurant, but they were closed or having a big party. So, we kept on going down in Tennessee and on into Georgia. Every five miles there was a Waffle House, and my daughter said, “Dad, let’s just stay and have dinner at Waffle House.” I said, “Our family, the Lewis family is not having dinner – Christmas dinner at the Waffle House. Not gonna happen.” Well, at 9 o’clock, still nothing. 9:30 still nothing. At 9:45 I was tired, I was hungry, I was grumpy, yes, the grumpy pastor on Christmas Day driving down highway 75.
I pulled into a Waffle House and walked in with my family. It was loud, it was noisy, it was smoky, and everyone was calling me “sweetie”, and “sugar”, and “honey”. And I sat down and ordered a cheeseburger and fries, and to this day, I have never tasted a better cheeseburger in my life, with tears streaming down my face of happiness. And I looked around, there I sat the Reverend Dr. Lewis next to drug dealers, truck drivers, next to people who had been to church. Over here was Ed Earl and Cooter, and Skeeter, and Bubba, and Billy Bob, and we were all enjoying Christmas dinner together. And I got to thinkin’ if Jesus had been born today, he would probably have been born in a truck in a parking lot at a Waffle House.
There are two places where everybody is the same, equal in this world; the communion table where we are all sinners receiving grace from God……and then there’s Waffle House where we’re all treated with love and grace, especially on Christmas Day. Merry Christmas.