Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Merry Christmas Everyone
It's a little after five a.m. and I'm awake. Before the stampede to the tree begins, I wanted to share what happened last evening.
It's been ages since I went to a Christmas Eve service, but something has been lacking in my spirit this year. I decided I was going. Oh, I decide to do a lot of things because they sound like a good idea at the time, then later change my mind, but something about this felt different. After our last pass through Walmart, I had my husband drive past a church that I noticed had a marquee with time of the service. I mentioned I was going.
I said, "Would you like to go with me?"
"Not really." He shrugged and kept his eyes on the road.
That was fine with me. My husband has never been to church that I know of, nor shown an interest.
As I got ready, he asked, "I'll go with you if you want me to." To which I replied, "Church isn't something you do for someone else, you do it for you."
He continued to watch television while I finished dressing. When I put on my coat, he asked again. "Are you sure."
"I'm okay going alone. Besides, you don't have time to get ready."
In the car I felt uplifted, yet sad. A whole family at home, but no one but me gave the Lord a thought. I was reminded about all the services I'd attended throughout the years with my children, when they were small, and I felt sad that I'd failed so miserably with their Christian upbringing. I can only hope that God forgives my shortcomings and they find their way to him.
So, here I was, a woman on a mission. It wasn't easy walking into a church where I'd never been, or facing people I'd never met, but I figured God wasn't a stranger and knew me well.
I sat in the closest pew to the door. No one really noticed me, except I was given a candle and program. I fumbled through the Bible looking for the verses listed, and took out the hymnal. People walked by, a few smile, but no one spoke. At one time, I considered it not a friendly group and thought about leaving, but stayed. After all, I was there for me, not them.
I glanced up as the next person walked through the door. The service was starting and the man was in the nick of time. I cannot describe the feeling that warmed me when I looked up to see my husband, Kelly. He'd followed me to church.
Although he didn't sing, he prayed, and when a very nice woman insisted we take Communion, he looked nervous. I hadn't had Communion in a very long time, but I explained the process in whispers. The line was dwindling as people commemorated the Lord, then went to the altar and knelt to pray. Kelly followed me and we partook. I thought it better if we just returned to our pew as we were almost the last in line, but he nodded to the altar and side-by-side we knelt and prayed as everyone else had.
I think I saw tears glistening in his eyes. To my knowledge, this was the first time he prayed, at least openly, and he stood. looking a little less burdened than when he came in. I suddenly had something else to thank God for. Did I get the best gift for Christmas, or what?