Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Celebrations

Somehow this year the Christmas Eve celebration at our church devolved into a Santa sing-song with apple cider. O, the intentions were right. I think the event started to disintegrate with the acquisition of a karaoke machine.

The short and sweet celebration was to take place between 7 and 8 on Christmas Eve. Four tables were set out in the sanctuary. In the centre of each table sat a fat red candle surrounded by Christmas greenery. The lights were dimmed.

At 7, there were two lonely red vans in the parking lot, but by 7:20, six families offered up 17 representatives. We were a somewhat laid-back bunch...ready to participate in whatever the evening held. The pastor sat behind the karaoke machine, a machine he was not familiar with. How hard could it be?

The titles of songs available on four discs were printed out on sheets distributed at the tables. Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Joy to the World and Silent Night mixed in with I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause, Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. We were encouraged to come up to the microphones placed in front of the karaoke screen.

The machine burped out, Angels from the Realms of Glory. Even to my unmusical ears it sounded very wrong. "Anaang-els frooom the Reaaaaaalmssss of ...." Amy volunteered to take the disc over to the manse next door to be cleaned.

In the meantime, singing along with God-glorifying Christmas carols on a malfunctioning karaoke machine seemed sacrilegious. We tried the less serious "Santa songs." These songs could take a little abuse from the machine without messing with our sense of propriety. We sang a number of seasonal songs including, Chestnuts Roasting by a Fire, Let It Snow, and the all-time low, Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer. We had fun acting out in front of the microphones and drinking the tasty cider. In no time at all, it was 8 p.m. and time to go home. The pastor prayed.

In our red van on the way home, our family decided to find a Christmas morning church service to satisfy our desire to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mystery Christmas Card

Every few years we get a Christmas card without a signature. One year the card wished us "Merry Christmas from the 5 of us." This year our Mystery card says, "Dear Marian and Dave and Family. We Miss you. We Love you. And Happy New Year 2009."

My theory is that my friend Marnie sends them. It's good to have a theory, then I won't spend a ton of time wondering about these cards. Thanks Marnie.

Maybe that's why people hang on to the theory of evolution--then they don't have to spend time thinking about a God who created the universe. I don't know, it's just a theory.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Rest & What God is Giving

Three words you associate with rest:

peace

sleep

feet-up



Where do you rest?

on the couch

in nature

lying down or feet curled up

alone

in my car



What do you take with you?

the Bible

a book

nothing



How often do you rest?

hardly ever

anytime

everyday


We started our women's Thursday morning gathering with the above exercise.

We also talked about what God is giving. Sometimes we ask for one thing and He gives us something else. In our collective experiences, He inevitably gives something better than what we expect.

Here are two experiences. (I've changed the names.)

Several years ago at a church service, "Rose" went forward for prayer. She was asking God for healing for aches, pains and allergies. An elderly couple prayed for her. Immediately she felt the tangible presence of God. His weight was tangible. Nothing else mattered anymore. There was only the Word: Jesus--an immense love and profound rest. The Lord's tangible presence stayed with Rose for days. She didn't concern herself in the least about an important court case which would be coming up in three weeks and involved the future of her family. She was totally at peace. God's presence during this extremely stressful time was the gift. The physical healing came later. (By the way, the court case was dropped for lack of evidence.)

"Daisy" came to Flamborough Christian Fellowship looking for a quick fix--"in and out" healing. She asked for and expected a light dusting, while the Lord is doing a major spring cleaning. God is healing old hurts and transforming her life.

These are two of the stories that stood out.

Merry Christmas everyone!
Marian