As this year finds Christmas and Sunday on the same days of the week, we took to going to church this morning with my folks over in Pocahontas, Illinois, at a little church called Old Ripley Church of Christ – in the village of Old Ripley.  I can’t say I’m normally used to having our kids in ‘big church’, so today was definitely going to be a challenge – or at least a discovery.

This little church is the classic type that you might imagine, but I don’t want to paint it as stereotypical.  It’s got a high attendance of about 80, and boasts some of the sweetest little old ladies that sing their hearts out in worship.  One of them even told me to make sure that we kept the kids in service… they wouldn’t mind the noise.  I rolled my eyes in the back of my mind thinking, “Well hopefully they’ll be quiet and behave.”  

The service started and I struggled to blend in with the voices – hoping that we wouldn’t be singing “Oh Holy Night” as part of the morning music selection.  I was wrong.  We did so, and as most of the congregation struggled throughout he piece, Emilia squirmed up and down the pew, Elijah doing the same.  At some point Emilia mis-steped and bonked her head against the wooden pew and took a long gasp of air.  I knew her ‘singing’ would almost be perfectly timed with the end of the song.  I glanced at the order of service and saw that “Silent Night” was to be next.  

“Oh the irony,” I thought – at least it was not actually night time.  

All in all I’m pretty sure that my kids were the primary mis-focus of the service – despite the fact that we tried to sit toward the back, and despite my best efforts to distract, calm and quiet them during the service.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids, and despite my hope and desire that they ‘hold still’ and ‘keep quiet’ during the service, I’m very thankful for them, for their giggles their, their personalities and genuine trust and love for Becky and I. 

It seems that “Christmas is a time” for so many ‘things’ – memories, thankfulness, giving and receiving.  It’s a time to examine the posture of our hearts and hopefully recognize again and anew our daily need for the gift of Christ, and God’s daily gift of grace and love to each of us, and yet He gives us so much more.

I’m thankful for my all my family.
I’m thankful for my good friends that I have from my time with Cornerstone Christian Church.
I’m thankful for a good man who loved and provided for his family so much.
I’m thankful of the memories I cherish from God’s work I got to participate in – in the lives of young people years ago.
I’m thankful for Becky, – my wonderful wife. The person I prayed for.

Merry Christmas! 


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