Sunday, December 25, 2011

Going to Church on Christmas Morning

This morning, I awoke early, as the earliest light of dawn was just beginning to crowd the stars from the sky.   After starting the coffee, I snapped the leash on the dog, and stepped out into the crunchy crispness of the day.   With the pup snuffing and meandering along with me, I walked the sidewalks of the very quiet neighborhood.

The lighted electronic diodes that shone from every other house were bright in the silence, but what caught my eye more was the subtle sparkle from the grass.  With the streetlights playing across the morning's frost fall, the little suburban lawns of my neighborhood glistened like windblown tinsel.   It was rather lovely, if you were lucky enough to be awake to see it.

Then it was homeward, to breakfast, and to tweak the Christmas Day sermon.   After cereal, then coffee, and then some more coffee, I began getting dressed to go to church.  The layers went on, one after another.  The socks.  Then another pair of socks.  Then long johns.  Then corduroy pants and my clerical shirt and collar.  Then armored boots.  Then my Kanetsu wind blocking electrically heated jacket.  Then my Roadcrafter viscoelastic-armored riding suit.  Then armored gloves.  Then over-gloves.  Then a wind-triangle to protect my neck from the subfreezing winds.  Funny, given how I used to hate having to get "dressed up" for church as a kid.

Then, having conveyed Christmas wishes to wife and lads, the helmet.

And I was off, motoring out of our neighborhood, on to a warm and cozy service on Christmas morning.

I was glad of it, and remembered to be thankful as I prepped.

Last year, I did not know yet what this day would be like.  Would I be preaching or leading worship?  Or just job-seeking?  Or just sitting in my basement frittering away meaningless hours on my PS3?

It was a void.  All of the traditions and expectations of the prior seven years were coming to an end, and there was no certainty.   In 2010, the where and the how of Christmas 2011 were hidden from me, still shrouded in the creative potential of our Maker.

I could not have anticipated where I am now.  Looking back across the span of my memory, I know I did not.

To the anxieties that would occasionally rise in that former self, I wish I could whisper a quiet word of encouragement.  It's going to be fine.  You'll like it.

Hope is such a good thing to remember, particularly this time of year.  As much as it can be obscured by consumerism and "Christmas Wars," that is kind of the point of the season, after all.