Wednesday, December 02, 2009


I brought this picture over from Flickr. Click on the link for the owners photostream. Isn't she gorgeous.

Often I find myself off on some tangent during the morning worship at church. I quickly reign that back in. That time is my time to really focus on renewing my spirit. Refilling my cup so to speak. There is no room for the grocery list, the to do list, what's for lunch, etc. I'm betting there are many of you who have this same confession.

Sunday was no different - the pastor's message was about the unexpected. About Mary accepting the unexpected blessing of an unplanned and very special baby. I focused intently during the message. I found myself wandering into the ponder pose during the song - Oh Little Town of Bethlehem.

We sang all of the verses. I have led children through this song 100's of times. I have participated in singing it myself probably thousands. (Amy Grant released a version years ago that is my favorite.) I actually did not even need the hymnal, because the entire song is familiar. But I was standing with the congregation, holding that hymnal, singing with a heart full of Thanksgiving, and suddenly words jumped from the page.

How silently, how silently the wondrous gift is given! So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His heaven. No ear may hear Him coming, but in the world of sin, where meek souls will receive him still, the dear Christ enters in.

Silently - wondrous - gift. Receive. Words to ponder. I could not draw myself back off this tangent no matter how I tried. What am I supposed to get from this? Heard - sang - thousands of times - why this verse - why this line - why now? I am not that dense - I know there's a message there for me. Sunday afternoon found me in the studio pondering. Sunday night found me hanging banners - still pondering. Monday evening - run time - pondering. Last night - running time - still pondering but now praying - reveal my real message.

Silently given - was my answer. Then I knew. It is not about the gifts under the tree, shared with my beautiful family. Not about a meal shared among those we love. Not about the center of the services at the church. Not about teaching that Sunday school class. It is about nameless - silent - unnoticed (unless they are not there) acts of service. About slipping in and hanging the last two banners - and doing a few other things that were noticed as need to be done. About jotting down a little note to someone simply saying how they touched you but not signing it, because it doesn't matter who they think it came from.

I remember as a child thinking that the church got decorated by magic. Now as an adult, I know it actually is handled by angel power, silent service by a few. The beauty of the Christmas Cantata is supported by hours of individual - unknown to the world - practice in the car by the members of that choir. About all those tiny little things that people do as unexpected service for people.

Last night - LATE - as me and the Man at my Address hung those last two backdrops - I looked around and saw all of the massive paintings hanging on the gym walls. I saw hours of youth time painting - and I could hear those kids - chatting among themselves. I saw and heard parents and other volunteers - bringing snacks in - chaperoning events - donating for a kid who could not afford to participate. I remembered hours of alone time myself working to bring back a little Christmas Spirit into the rush that has become the Happy Holiday season. I came home to clean laundry that the Man does everyday. I looked two spots for something the College Girl put away differently than I would have. I listened as the Softball Princess text back and forth with a friend who needed her help on something. Silent service - giving with no expectation of recognition or return. It was and is all around me.

And I knew what I was supposed to get from these words. - My Salvation gift slipped in quietly - not in a pomp and circumstance public presentation. A quiet young woman - a confused man - some angels - and God - a few shepherds - and some kings. Just a small handful knew what was going on, but what was to be the biggest gift for humankind was happening. He won't be in a gift bag under the tree. You won't see him on a throne in the mall. He won't be touting the latest greatest toy for this year. Not on EBAY as that toy price goes through the roof. Not running from store to store to find "THE PERFECT GIFT THIS CHRISTMAS". No --- the Greatest gift this Christmas will be found in that small, still, center of my being. In those moments of prayer, praise and worship where I am focused on the True Gift of Christmas

Dear Lord - Thank you for the precious gift of my Salvation. Thank you for those before me and around me that have answered your call. Thank you for the unexpected blessings that occur when we say "yes" to you. Let me be one of those meek souls choosing to allow you in. The Dear Christ enter into all areas of my life. Allow me to complete those small (or big) acts of silent service that allow your Light to illuminate the lives of others. Help me to not complain that I have no help with this or that. Give me eyes to see opportunity for service and mens to answer those calls. In you precious name. Amen.

I know of some service needs already - I started the ball rolling last night to fulfill what I think is call to complete those service needs. Look - see - what can you do as an answer to an unexpected calling from your Saviour?

To all of you I star by saying Merry Christmas. For Christ really is what it is all about.

Have a wonderful day.

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