Last night’s Christmas service was the culmination of a Christmas filled with blessings and riches, even though the year was materially lean. As I sat and listened to the choir, joining in now and then when invited to sing a carol, I revelled in the gifts I had received this year in my family, and thought, “Wow, I really was blessed in abundance!” My wife has recently launched a new business, my oldest son was just yesterday offered a job in his field (he graduated recently from college), my daughter just finished a “perfect” (straight A’s) semester at college, and I had the opportunity to hear my younger son play with the High School band in their holiday concert (the first of my three children to continue with music into high school – I was a music major in college, so this was an amazing event for me).
So we celebrated Christmas at my brother’s house, with most of my family (minus my two oldest siblings and their families who live out of state). This was also the second Christmas without my Dad. What a wonderful time of family fellowship, where our table blessing was the singing of the song, “Pretty Good Night” (see yesterday’s post) with my son, daughter, and two nieces accompanying me on the chorus.
Then to church. Our Pastor entered the church to the choir leading the congregation in the singing of “O Come, All Ye Faithful”, carrying two newborn twin boys in his arms. This is a tradition in our church that he carries in a child who represents the baby that we welcome into our hearts every Christmas, Jesus.
And the best news and greatest gift to our congregation was the return to our faith family of Lt. Tim Fallon, a US Marine who was severely injured in Afghanistan several weeks ago, almost completely blinded by an IED explosion in which several of his platoon and at least one Afghani soldier were injured or killed. He was allowed to leave the hospital at Walter Reade for the weekend and joined us with his fiance and family. He still has a long road ahead, and we continue to pray for his recovery.
It really touches our hearts when the gift is the presence, not the presents. Family, friends, and even those we don’t know too well, who affect our lives in so many different ways. And so often taken for granted.
Thank you Father God, for the greatest gift of all, your Son who came to earth to offer the gift of salvation to all who seek Him. For a family that loves me, and that I can love in return. For a church fellowship where I can feel at home, wherever I travel. And for people like Tim Fallon, who serve our country with their dedication to so many people that they don’t know, and often give more than should be asked of them.
God bless us everyone…