Headlights shine like lanterns in the night as the tires glide into parking spots, leading us and inviting us in. Children hold the hands of mothers and grandmothers as they enter the expectant sanctuary. Friends introduce distant aunts and second cousins to the familiar church family as they slide quietly into the pew. It seems the whole world is beaming and vibrant, yet quiet and still.
I always scoot in at the very last minute, waving at friends and family members, slipping fuzzy gloves into the pockets of a warm coat. Oh, how I adore a room full of old and new faces all anticipating the sweet celebration of Him.
Many faces in this church building are guests, but few are strangers.
Peaking to the left, it thrills my heart to see my farmer grandpa and my dearest friends in the same place, gathering to worship our King and to sing of Him as an infant in the manger. We’re all guests to the throne of God, bringing our less than perfect, torn-up, tired, battered hearts and laying them down for His glory with abundant gratitude for all He has done.
Immanuel, God with us remains faithful in every season. Tonight, we lay aside the hustle and bustle of the past weeks as a united body of believers.
We gather and isn’t it stunningly beautiful? We don’t gather around the comfort of tradition or the thrill of merriment, although I enjoy both immensely! We gather around a manger. Our hearts collectively join in more of a harmony than a unison as our souls adore the Savior.
Merry Christmas to you and those you hold dear. You are a treasure to God and friend? He is for you and with you.
Celebrating Immanuel, God with us.
From my heart to yours,
Updated: This post was originally written for the Incourage blog several years ago. My farmer grandpa went to be with Jesus this summer. This will be our first Christmas without him and it leaves a hole when we lose a grandparent. I have lost two in the past couple years. It is in these seasons of loss that I am reminded that my hope is in Jesus alone. Our family members and even our familial Christmas traditions eventually leave this earth, but the steadfast love of the Lord and the grandparents who now worship before His throne are forever. May we rest our hope in what is eternal. Jesus is forever.