Celebrating God's Goodness
When I heard there was a Christmas luncheon for the recipients of Congregational care I knew I wanted to attend. I have always had a soft spot for the elderly and I continue to be amazed at how our church takes care of those who paved the way for us! As we should. Leviticus 19: 32, “Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God, I am the Lord.” My pastor explained the luncheon to me as these members have difficulty coming out so we wanted this time to be special for them. A time for them to celebrate Christmas. And that is what we did!
My mother and I sat at a table with a couple who have been members for years. Although the ladies voice has been taken by dementia, her eyes sparkle and say a lot! She touched our hearts and we have both been praying for her ever since. Her husband is a full time caregiver. She likes to laugh, and so do I, so we were quick friends. She held my mother’s hand and would not let go! They, too, were quick friends and will visit in the future. A wonderful meal was served while listening to a band play and sing Christmas hymns and carols.
This was like our Christmas Eve service. After we ate, Pastor Barry put on his robe and spoke about Christmas. Isaiah 9: 6-7, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.” We were reminded that it is a time to celebrate God’s goodness even when times are difficult.
Scripture says we are going to suffer. Some of us may be going through the valley of the shadow of death. Isn’t it nice to know we have Almighty God with us? We can submit to Him and let Him guide us. He is our Prince of Peace! He is the greatest gift ever given to mankind!
We celebrated that gift through Holy Communion. We were served at our individual tables. All of the lights were dimmed and each person, who was able, held a candle while we sang, “Silent Night.” It was a very special Christmas Eve service for me and one I will never forget.
I would later find out that my “new friend” had been a very active member at church. She had stuffed bulletins for years. She took it upon herself to reach out to those who were no longer able to attend church and wrote letters of encouragement for 25 people each month. This is someone who wanted to encourage others and now it is time for us to encourage her and her husband. Psalm 71: 9, “Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone.”
Another gentleman came over to show me his Christmas sweater. He had Santa Clauses all over it. It turned out his wife was my teacher when I was at Roland Grise Middle School. Our Sunday school class had been praying for them because they lost their daughter, who was one year older than me, suddenly, a few months ago. I told them I was praying for them and I know Christmas is a tough time. The father told me he would like to share something with me and told me I could share in this blog. He was lying in his bed grieving the death of his daughter and wondering how he would go on. He said he felt a hand come through his mattress and touch his back. He heard God tell him that He would give him the strength he needed to get through. Through smiles, he told me that the next weekend he went to his granddaughters wedding. A perfect example of being in the valley but having God by our side! Isaiah 46: 4, “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”
We were reminded that we are to be like children. Matthew 18: 3, “And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’” Children get so excited to open their gifts and they open them immediately. Maybe we should be more excited and open our gifts immediately. Have we adequately received our gift? How do we say thank you to Jesus? If you have not opened that gift there is a treasure inside!
All of us know some elderly people that could use encouragement. Let’s think about visiting these brothers and sisters in Christ. And a note is always a nice surprise! 1 Thessalonians 5: 11, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” You will be the one blessed!