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
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.