Thursday, December 24, 2015

Home for the Holidays

As we gaze on the manger let's not forget why they were there.  They really should have been in Nazareth in their own bed having that baby but they weren't.  They were on the road headed toward Bethlehem because they had to register for the census.  Joseph was of the house of David and Bethlehem was the family headquarters.  That's where they had to go to register.  They were headed home.

I'm living between two home churches right now, gradually settling into our church in Winnsboro, still having a foot in our old church in Garland.  We've lived full-time in our little cabin in the woods since about ten years ago. But we didn't move our church membership until three years ago.  We just kept driving back to Garland every Sunday. Ninety miles each way.  It was that hard to let go. It had been our home church since 1977.  We raised our kids there.  With the help of a lot of people.  You don't raise your kids alone. And it's not always concrete acts; it's the small things that add up to big things, things you can't put into words but somehow add up to make character, to tell you what is right and what is wrong. Whether you know it or not, raising kids is the stories of something Linda Peavy said or the expression on Ardyce's face or the turn of Royanne's head or knowing that Ron could always be depended on........There is no book on how to raise a child to equal living inside a community.  It takes a village.

But after three years as a member of our church in Winnsboro, I'm starting to become part of the church family here and it will be hard to be away on Christmas Eve.  I know how much work Tricia has put into Lessons and Carols. I will know most of the people who will fill the Sanctuary.  They are my church family now just as much as the Garland church. I've been to youth retreats with Katelyn and Catherine.   I've made tamales with the Wednesday night bible study. I have come to love their 100-year old pews dearly.  I know how sacred the air feels in the Sanctuary when its empty.




Tonight for Christmas Eve Beaven and I will be in Garland to spend the night with our kids and greet Santa at Elizabeth's house in the morning.  We will worship God with our church family there.  Margaret will add her own special touch on the organ:  a little flourish with the zimbalstern at the end of the night.  It's my favorite sound in the world.  On Christmas Eve, the note of a zimbalstern will have you turn your head toward the windows to look for snow.

Yes, I know it will be 70 degrees here in Texas.  But that's how powerful a sound this is.  May you hear a zimbalstern tonight. May you be home for Christmas even if you find yourself in Bethlehem when you'd rather be in Nazareth.

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