Try to shine as lights among the people of this world, as you hold firmly to the message that gives life. - Philippians 2:15
QUITE THE BABY: Then there's the latest photo of our grandson, David Henry; it was taken at Naomi and Craig's church Sunday morning. Sure, it's not one of his famous laughing, giggling close-ups. But I just love the context.
David, by a fortuitous juxtaposition of timing and availability, happened to be not only the right age to play "Baby Jesus" in the Westchester Congregational Church Christmas program, but also awake and content for the entire 15 or so minutes. Our grandson was, by all reports, the first actual baby (as opposed to one procured at Toys-R-Us) to grace the church nativity in a number of years.
PROMISE: It's a wonderful image because it tells the Christmas story of promise. It's the story of a small community of Jesus followers, gathering faithfully for worship, and quietly but insistently living the narrative of hope, peace, love and joy in the community where they are privileged to share the life-charged truth of the Gospel.
And the young Campbell family are there, recently joined, and they have promised to bring our grandson up in the knowledge and the practice of the love of God, and to do it with the encouragement and the prayers of the Westchester Congregational Church.
PARTY! And that's where our Sunday wrapped up; in the arms of our own faith community here in Brandon. Rebekah and I hosted our small-group Christmas celebration and it was - as always - an evening resonant with the celebration of love.
We enjoyed good food, we laughed often and loud, we shared powerful stories and we exchanged gifts. But, most of all, we were the presence of Christ to and for one-another. And so we finished our time together by letting some of the deeper concerns of our hearts spill over, and we offered those situations to God in prayer.
PRESBYTERIAN YOOTS: Then, with the timing of serendipity, the church youth group showed up to serenade us with a couple of carols in our front garden. The scene, which I couldn't capture properly on film, featured around 20 young people singing Silent Night to around 20 adults squished together on our front porch.
It was a beautiful moment. Our love, our prayers, our joy and our hope - all drawn together in the visible promise of youth, some holding up cell-phones to illuminate the music, all holding out the word of life.
Happy Monday, friends, may that promise find root in each and every heart this week - DEREK