By Pastor Linda Skinner Christmas Eve was a glorious time this year. How I loved sitting in the choir chairs on Christmas Eve and watching the faces of people enjoying the lore of Christmas. A message that comes through the music, the beauty of the manger in the rain, the dancer with the little cherubs and Pastor Tim’s unfolding of the Christmas story once again.
I watched the excitement of parents and grandparents, when their little angels, some with dangling halos, danced on the stage in front of the manger. We were blessed to have one of our high schoolers play the most beautiful cello solo and I couldn’t help but notice his dad sitting on the front row, eyes closed, a smile on his face, enjoying every stroke of the bow on the strings. I almost missed my entry cue on the song (don’t tell Rhonda, ok?). So many people thanked our church for making their Christmas Special.
Pastor Tim shared that in his over 30 years of ministry he has never known a time where we need Christmas more than now. It got me to thinking about how important Christmas is to us 365 days of the year. Some of us celebrate only on Christmas Day with family and friends, other traditions celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas beginning on Christmas Day and ending on January 6, but no matter how you celebrate Christmas is a celebration of New Birth. Not only our Saviors’, but our own as well.
Wednesday night, December 30 (the 6th day of Christmas), our Women’s Ministry at Washington Cathedral cooked and served a holiday meal for the Camp Unity Community-- a tent community currently located at a church in Woodinville. What a feast it was!
Two months ago when I signed up for that night, I was a little concerned about how many ladies would be willing to cook a meal between Christmas and New Years Day. How many would even be in town? What kind of support could we rally? Well, I wish you could have been there. First, everyone was prepared to serve the meal outside in the freezing cold. Our helpers came bundled in layers of cloths, scarfs, hats, and gloves. Ready to face the freezing cold. Our first miracle was that the church opened up their fellowship hall and kitchen for us to use. Allowing us to be in, out of the cold, but more importantly allowing the residents to enjoy a delicious meal in the beautiful warm area.
Second miracle was the food. I had this crazy idea that I wanted everything to be home cooked. My mom taught me years ago that you give your best to those who have the least. Well it was beyond my wildest imagination. Turkey, Ham, Potatoes, Dressing, Gravy, Cranberry Sauce, Sweet Potatoes, Soup, Cooked Vegetables, Salads, Pies, Cakes – all delicious and lovingly cooked by the ladies of our church. I was blown away (it brings tears to my eyes as I’m typing this). One lady brought some delicious whipped sweet potatoes (enough to feed an army) and she told me her kitchen is being remodeled and she had to cook the sweet potatoes a few at a time in her micro-wave--plus she has a broken arm.
Third miracle was the amount of food. We had enough food for twice the number of people whom we served. I spoke to Chris who runs the kitchen at the church we were using and he said that on New Year’s Eve they were planning to serve Camp Unity and they’d love to use the food to serve that meal. I couldn’t believe that what our ladies prepared was not only so delicious but it was so plentiful that it would bless this community for New Year’s Eve.
The fourth miracle was the people. What a blessing to see our church spending time enjoying food and fellowship with the people of Camp Unity. One family drove all the way from Seattle to a place they had never been, driving in the dark--even getting a little lost--to serve in the name of Jesus.
All of these miracles are a result of people living Christmas in their hearts and lives. As we enter this New Year 2016, maybe in place of all the resolutions that seem to fade by January 15, I’d like to challenge you to think about what you might do differently in 2016 to live out Christmas for the next 365 days.
Take a few minutes and meditate on Romans 12:1-5.
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
God Bless You and Those You Love.