Friday, December 25, 2009

I'll see you in church on Sunday...

Wonderful Christmas memories are numerous for me. Maybe it's being right in the spirit of the season that almost prevents me from remembering a negative experience. Sure, I've been in a few places I would rather not have been during the holiday, but as far as a bad memory...I can't find one on my hard drive I call a brain.

I remember Christmas Day fell on Sunday back in 2005. That had been a particularly hard year for me and my family, but there was a feeling of turning a new leaf as the year end approached.

Like most families, mine has a very regimented schedule to adhere to starting with Christmas Eve each year to ensure we spread the holiday cheer evenly among our blended families. I recall one Christmas flying home from Hawaii for a few weeks. Upon returning to the island, I learned of angry family upset that I didn't come see them while I was home. I fly 8 hours home, but they can't drive 15 minutes to visit me at my parents house? Right.

Anyway, our plans where slightly modified in 2005 to include a morning worship service at church. My heart was telling me that attending church was the right thing to do despite the hectic visitation schedule we were facing, but my head was focused on everything but worship early that Christmas morning. Until I actually got to church...

There was surprisingly a large crowd attending the service. I sat with my family because I didn't have to play the drums during praise music. We sang traditional Christmas carols that told of the coming of the Savior. Without being facetious, the best way to describe my heart that morning is akin to what the Grinch went through in the famous Dr. Seuss story. It was as if my heart filled and expanded out of my chest that morning. The experience was absolutely unforgettable and a tremendous blessing. I wasn't there to receiving a blessing...I was there to worship and praise God for being God...but He blessed me that Christmas morning and reminded me it should always be about Him.

I remember walking out that day and telling my wife that I wish we had a church service every Christmas morning regardless of the day of the week. I still feel that way and so does she. Christians talk about the reason for the season and keeping Christ in Christmas...but how many church doors are closed and locked this morning on Christmas 2009? Too many.

Oh well, 2011 is only a few years away with another Sunday Christmas.

Please join me today in lifting up love and appreciation for the ultimate gift in the history of human kind. Merry Christmas everyone.


David said...

Great message - just one more way that we have strayed from the message. It seems to me the it is a perfect and almost natural way to for those that have not connected with God, to do so.

I suppose on the other hand, for dedicated Christians, it's Christmas everyday. But I still like to go to church on Christmas!

Joyce Lighari said...

That Christmas I was pastoring a small church that met in a coffee shop. Five of us decided to gather anyway. We sang Christmas carols together, prayed and had coffee. It was one of the sweetest Christmas I can remember.
On this, I think some of the more liturgical churches have it right -- Christmas morning should find us worshiping with other believers.

Michelle said...

Despite my feelings...this is a nice post. I, too, think that if folks want to celebrate their Savior, they should be worshipping Him and praising Him and being in His Word.

We can't ever figure out why if Christmas is about Christ, why are churches closed?? It just doesn't make sense...but then again, "mainline Christianity" doesn't make much sense to us either!

David said...

@Joyce - you always have these cool little stories - you really should write a book. Encountering God in the Everyday or something like that.

@Michelle - any chance we get to worship God is a good day. I remember that scene in Home Alone with the garbage can dragging neighbor - I wish there was a place to see a choir on Christmas Day.

Today turned out OK in spite of the devil's plan to destroy it.

photogr said...

Any day is a good day to worship the Lord. Even if it is only two gathered to worship, there in lies the Body of Christ.

Yes A Christmas Sunday at church is special.

Tracy said...

Thanks for this post Tony; it's cool to hear how about how God worked in your heart during that service.

As others have said here; it is always an awesome thing to be able to worship God and be in His word with other Believers. My favorite time/day service is Midnight on Christmas eve - to bring in Christmas together. Of course I'm a night owl anyway.