It’s the end of Christmas Day, and I’m sitting in the glow of candles and decorative lights in our living room, reflecting on a beautiful holiday. Our weather has been unusually warm and sunny here in north Georgia, for this time of year. Christmas Eve, our Phoenix community had planned a small candlelight and coffee service, yet precious few planned to attend. Discouraged, Pastors Greg and Wes had the idea to take Christmas into the community, notably, the apartment complex just down the street. We set up a coffee/hot chocolate station, a mic and guitar, our folks brought snacks and donations of mittens and scarves, and we proceeded to invite the community down to a Christmas Eve carol sing. Numerous folks came outside to join us, we made many new friends, and for a time, stood together under the star-lit sky and lifted our voices in joyful song. I think we found a new tradition.
Later in the evening, my family kept our own long-standing tradition, of attending the midnight candlelight service at a local Methodist church in our area. The service is always reverent and worshipful, with classic carols, Scripture readings, responsive readings, and communion, culminating in a lights-out, candlelight singing and prayer to bring in the first moments of Christmas Day. We enjoy this time with our more liturgical brethren, year after year.
Today, we drove south to Lisa’s family Christmas party, and spent a sunny, warm day eating, laughing together, exchanging gifts, and enjoying the rare moments we can actually all get together. Tomorrow, my parents will drive up and spend the day with us at our home, for more of the same. I only wish my two brothers could join us, living and working so far away. The older I get, the more I welcome family time, with our own girls, with my birth family, and with Lisa’s. Precious moments, too few.
Christmas to me really is the most beautiful time of year. I enjoy Christmas all month, all the way to New Years. While the world rushes by, while people hustle about and fret over gifts, gatherings, and recipes, many Christ followers find time to reflect on the deep, abiding gift of forgiveness, salvation, and restoration, found in the coming of Jesus Christ into the world. “O Come Let Us Adore Him” is playing on the radio even as I write this, and I’m thankful I know the One of whom they sing. I’ve received His forgiveness, His salvation, His restoration, and I am eternally grateful.
May you know this One we remember and worship this season, the “Saviour, who is Christ, the Lord” as the angels introduced Him that amazing night so long ago.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16