To refresh your memory, Raymond is in kindergarten and had approached me one Sunday morning at fellowship time and said with a mixture of kindergarten cuteness and absolute confidence, “I’d like to sing “Away in the Manger” in front of the church.” I said, “I can arrange that.” And so last Sunday, after inviting some of his friends to sing with him, Raymond’s choir sang “Away in the Manger” during worship.
Just before they sang I asked Raymond, “Why do you want to do this?” He said with the same cuteness and confidence something like, “I love music so much I want to do this every day.” It was positively priceless.
So as the kids are leaving for Sunday School, I’m standing there trying to think of a way to transition us into our time of prayer. I looked up and saw a few people who I knew were having difficult times. Sure they were smiling as the kids walked past, but it was that guarded smile which is holding back something like tears.
You know, Christmas is a time when as we open ourselves to the joy of the season, we also open ourselves to the possibility of grief and heartaches in our lives. As I looked up it was obvious to me that a few hearts among us were breaking. This was the moment that moved me so. And it wasn’t that I felt pulled between two extremes of emotion; it was the sense of awe and wonder that feelings of such depth could be evoked in the same moment among us and within us.
As we move closer to celebrating Christmas and all that surrounds it, I pray that we might have the courage to recognize the grief and the joy that fills us so. The miracle of God coming to be one of us is not that all pain and suffering and grief are taken away; it is that they are redeemed. God is with us in every moment, moments of courage and cuteness, moments of heartbreak and grief. And when we are open to the grace God intends, the beauty, the depth of our life is revealed and shines within us as bright as any star.
Keep the Faith,