We Celebrate the Results of the Greatest Gift
The clock ticks toward midnight that will begin Christmas Day. No need to put out cookies and milk for Santa after he has slid down the chimney and left presents. Most folks do not have functional fireplaces if they even have a fireplace. I wonder why pictures of Santa never show the soot of the chimney on his red and white outfit? We build fantasies beyond the logic of reindeer flying around the world in a night and elves making gifts for every child in the world, while we ask them to believe in a Babe born of a virgin and laid in a manger.
Santa Claus in our home when I was a child was a hard sell. We knew the sound of mama's sewing machine late at night. We recognized the fabric of our pajamas and other clothing. We knew Dad's carpentry skills and could hear his hammer and tools that made things practical for use on the farm. Fun was not the primary motive. Survival was.
Move forward to the present Christmas season. Sunday evening past in our home was the last official invitation for anyone to sign up and visit - bringing a dish of food to share with the party. Laila, Josh and I prepared tea, coffee, water, sodas, bread, meat and a few basic items. Though there was a risk to having a menu that would represent a meal, we have never failed.
The best part is when folks are served and they choose where to sit... the living room, dining room, family area - even outside if the weather is accommodating. We encourage folks to meet new people, to get to know each other and to build stronger friendships. From these gatherings friendships have been formed, people have come to know Jesus, helped each other find jobs, discovered new ministries, etc.
Last evening was terrific. About 30 people from a one-year-old to senior citizens. Gradually the adults gathered around our dining room table. As more moved in after dinner, we sat double-deep. We talked. Shared. Where did we come from? What types of jobs, employment, travel had characterized our lives. Had we attended church as a child? What type of church? When did we come to know Jesus? How did we end up in the fellowship of Covenant Church?
... from jail and a struggle to find a settled mind
... from trapping wild animals in the Adirondacks
... from being a flower child of the golden age of aphrodisiacs
... from a Pentecostal home to wandering and back to Jesus
... from Orthodoxy to being born again and running for your life
... from being a child sent to church with parents staying home
There were other stories. The schedule was to be 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM. A few folks arrived before 4:00 PM. A good number were still present at 8:00 PM! Standing around. Talking. Some even stayed to play games. Children and adults together.
Fellowship with good food is one of the great privileges of the Christian family. The clock seems to stop. It is a little bit of heaven on earth. No one needing to imbibe to lift their spirits. No one having a hangover with regrets. Just good people who love Jesus enjoying their joy of Jesus!
Monday came. It was an awesome Monday. Good things happened. Laila and I were privileged to visit with Lyndsey and Lauren Dunn and their newly arrived twins, a boy and a girl. The children and mom are healthy. What a beautiful blessing.
Patsy Parks was out of back surgery with physicians optimistic for her to have a much more active future without the pain. We praise the Lord!
Pastor David Dorber came by the church. He and his wife needed to be in Fairfax Tuesday, but they had no ride. My schedule would not allow me to make the trip. Bill Barger stepped in to accept the responsibility. We offered to pay him. He insisted that any "pay" be added to the staff Christmas bonus. Big-hearted Bill! We pray for the Dorber’s meeting today. May God intervene to provide a miracle.
In the lobby of the OT and stage of the NT, there is lots of action preparing for the Cantata this weekend. Saturday evening at 6:00 PM, and twice on Sunday AM we will present the Christmas message with drama and song. This is always a special time of beauty, inspiration, and reflection centered around the true meaning of Christmas. Please invite your friends.
On Sunday at 4:00 PM, Laila and I will renew our pledge of love celebrating 50 years of happiness without a lawyer or counselor! Well, maybe I should add that we have talked to our Lawyer Jesus quite often, more than we could afford the bill. And after 50 years she is still a woman. I am still a man. We are different. We do not always agree, and most of the time when we disagree I am wrong. Such is love.
Traveling along for and with Jesus. Glad you are traveling with me.
Matthew 1:21 ...for he shall save his people from their sins.