Yes, it's January, but I started this post just after Christmas, and wanted to finish it anyway... :)
Christmas Eve found us at Wesley Chapel, just like every other Christmas Eve I can remember. Each of the kids had something prepred for the program.
Elijah and Eleanor sang "Happy Birthday, Jesus"
Elijah played "Silent Night" on his harmonica
Mackenzie sang "Welcome To Our World"
Katie played "O Come, All Ye Faithful"
As I sat in the church, which looks exactly the same as it has since I was a little girl, looking at faces of people I have known and loved all my life, I was almost moved to tears thinking about how much that simple Christmas Eve service means to me. Hearing my dad read the Gospel of Luke, the lighting of the advent candle, the precious, heartfelt performances of little children in their fanciest clothes...all of these things brought a rush of memories over me. And then I started thinking about the faces of the people who aren't there anymore-mostly Grandpa Bob, but others, too-and I felt a little sad, but also so enormously joyful for the gift of Christmas. It is because the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and gave His life as a ransom for us all that we can know that death is not the end. Christmas is our hope.
I am grateful for Wesley Chapel, for the simple one-room church where the first seeds of faith were planted in my heart, and where so many of my most treasured memories of childhood took place. I am grateful for the part it plays in the traditions of my family now, and for the welcoming love that always greets us there whenever we are able to attend. And most of all, I am grateful for the love of Christ that shines in that congregation. It indeed holds a very special place in my heart.