Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

My intentions were to take off until the New Year so as to absorb myself in college football bowl games but two really neat things have jumped out at my to share with you.

First, if you want to track Santa, go here.

And second, Megan the wordsmith has done it again, capturing the impact of returning home to worship yesterday. Her words touched my heart and I hope all you Woodward Park'ers will find encouragement and uplift from her reflections.

I've been blessed to call many places home over the last five years. I've lived in our Athens house (the residence of my childhood), the Whitney house (which we moved into my Junior year of high school), Harding University, Fort Stewart, GA, and Columbia, TN. These places are home, not because of residence, but because of people well-loved and memories made. Yesterday, as morning services were about to begin, I was reminded of yet another home I've been blessed with: The Woodward Park church of Christ.

Husband and I had not been back to CA in a year. Yet, from the moment we entered the south side door, we were reminded of the eternal love and unending welcome one only finds in two places: your biological family and your church family. We were given tight hugs, easy smiles, old jokes, and warm remembrances as a reception.

This is the church family I grew up in. These are the people who compose my second, third, even fourth and fifth sets of parents. These are the friends from church camp and youth rallies, from missions trips and devos. These are entire families we've laughed and cried with as life revealed its course. These are men and women of great renowned, if only to us. The meek, the holy, and the trying-really-hard.

My sister-in-law said last night that true friends are the ones you can not talk to for a year and still pick up where you left off. Yesterday, Husband and I picked up with the greatest of old friends who welcomed us back not only into their lives, but the lives of new babies, new loves, and old remembrances.

I was reminded yesterday why God asks us to worship with others. Sure, there are a lot of reasons for it, like accountability and confession. And there are a lot of reasons not to wander from the faith, but my human heart must confess that love of my greater family is a strong motivator to remain true to God. How could I let down so many people whom I love so much? How can I contemplate a world without my entire family? (Note, almost my entire biological family goes to this same church.)

Husband and I have a new church family in Tennessee. We are trying (we are both introverts after all) and we know that someday this new church family will also feel like a sanctuary, but, after knowing the depth of Christian love shared in our building at Millbrook and Nees, I can't imagine this coming quickly. It's good to be home.