Just east of Gaylord Family Memorial Stadium (home of the Oklahoma Sooners) sits Heisman Park. No other location exists on the planet that better remembers the achievements of OU’s past Heisman trophy winners. Last weekend, while Sam Bradford was polishing off his acceptance speech in New York City, University caretakers in Norman were preparing to begin polishing another statue for the park. Soon, Sam’s likeness will stand alongside the statues of Billy Vessels, Steve Owens, Billy Sims, and Jason White inside Heisman Park.
Hearing those five names of past Sooner greats, however, reminds me of the fleeting nature of fame. Right now, you could walk around town asking people for their top five Sam Bradford highlights, and they could name you ten. The same set of Sooner fans remember a bit less about Jason White, and even less about Billy Sims. You could probably find a few long time OU fans who remember details of Steve Owens’ magical season–but virtually no one who can recall any defining highlight of Billy Vessels’ career. At one time, Vessels was as famous as Bradford, but time has obscured our memory as each past champion has been replaced by a newer version in our consciousness.
I was reflecting on this phenomenon the other day as I was pondering the story of the birth of Christ. Though this event happened 2,000+ years ago, Jesus Christ is still as relevant today as He ever was. Far more than just remembering facts about His life, people still call Him their Lord and Savior. Contrary to our heroes of the gridiron, Jesus cannot be replaced, and His role as the eternal Son of God makes Him eternally contemporary. Steve Owens diminishes in our mind because his football playing days are long completed. Jesus, however, is worshipped anew every day because He is still at work on our behalf empowering us for righteous living and advocating for us before our Heavenly Father. Thankfully, no statue can contain Jesus Christ, but as you see tiny reminders of His life in nativity scenes decorating the season, take time to praise Him for continuing to be the highlight of the world.