One thing that was very different than a normal church service was that Joshua went to this service with us in the sanctuary. He normally stays in "extended care" in the nursery. Of course, another difference was that the lights were off, with only the lit Christmas trees.
As we sat there, all in a row, the youngest in my lap, I was suddenly overwhelmed. The music started ("Here I Am to Worship"), and I was too overcome with emotion to even sing. Suddenly all of the worries of the world faded away.
The church service was beautiful. We had several families read Scripture and light candles to signify different roles God/Jesus plays in our life. We sang several songs, including my very favorite "O Holy Night", and our pastor preached a short sermon about THE Light of the World.
A few thoughts that came to mind with the lighting of the candles...
Hope. God is a God of hope. I don't know about you, but I need hope. It seems like this has been a very difficult year. So many financial difficulties. Houses for sale. Lost jobs. Sickness. So much sickness. Cancer has affected two teachers at my school as well as the husband of one of our co-workers. So much sadness. But God is a God of hope. He IS our hope. The more I live on this earth and experience the pain of a human life, the more I long to be with Him. And ultimately, isn't that what He wants? To be with us? To know that we long to be with Him?
Love. That one was easy, or as easy as love gets. I just had to look down the pew to see my true love surrounded by our little loves. Then we came home for a baked potato soup with my parents and my grandmother. The room was full of love. I am so blessed. I forget sometimes, but it is true. So blessed.
Peace. This is the one that nearly had me in a heap of tears. Peace. I long for peace. It seems like recently that is my hope and dream for the new year. Peace. I have the peace of Jesus in my life. But lately I long for peace in our house. I don't want to go in many details, but the last few weeks have not been very peaceful. (Marriage is fine, referring to kiddos here) It seems like many nights I go to bed in tears, trying to figure out what we can do to fix things. Motherhood is not easy. I am hoping that once Christmas is over with, things will settle back down, tempers will calm, tensions will ease. And then maybe I really can have peace. Maybe. :)
So back to my favorite Christmas song.
O Holy Night.
The stars are brightly shining.
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth.
Those words get to me every time.
Actually it just takes the opening note.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
That part always tears me up too. I can't help but think of Guatemala. I remember seeing the oppression, feeling it. And I know that it is not even close to the oppression other parts of the world (even our own country) has.
But the words that almost stop my heart:
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
Fall on your knees. Fall. Just seeing Him, hearing His voice and that of His angels, will cause me to fall on my knees. I think of that scenario often. Lately I have thought of falling to my knees in desperation, in prayer, in search of peace. But one day I will fall on my knees in awe and wonder at His glory.