It was one of those unique Christmas Eve services that bring a small and diverse group of people together under one roof for an evening one doesn’t forget. My daughter and I had been asked to create a special service of lessons and carols for a small “country” church in Ottawa County. We asked the part time accompanist for help with some special music, and readers from my family and the congregation to present selected passages. The pastor shared in the service and she and her husband (a UK native) hosted a wonderful “old country” traditional dinner of shepherd’s pie and other delights for about 30 people in the fellowship hall before worship.
With Mom being very ill, she and Dad didn’t often travel as far as an hour from home, particularly at night in winter, but we gave them directions to the church and said a prayer that they’d be able to join us. With dinner fast approaching, suddenly there they were, with my youngest brother joining us too. We shared this delightful meal and the company of mostly strangers, lingering for a time before heading up to the sanctuary for the service.
One of my favorite passages in the Bible is the Christmas story from Luke. I had the pleasure of reading parts of that passage for my Mom and Dad, and joining with my daughter in some very special music for the holidays. It was a wonderful experience as I often envisioned Christmas Eve might have been a hundred years ago in a rural community in the heartland, right down to the candle light benediction. As Mom celebrated Christmas with us, little did we know it was to be her last. Just eight months later she was gone.
The memory of that Christmas has joined with other special memories as another “perfect moment” in my collection of perfect moments. It became one as, like a child in a Christmas play, I read for my Mom the Christmas Story one last time.
May joy and peace fill your hearts this Christmas, and always…Pops
Luke Chapter 2 verses 1-20.