Gwen's family got this sculpted tree from their church. It was created in Haiti and is made out of a steel oil drum.
Just holding this in my hand is quite an experience. To imagine that it was once a steel oil drum that someone spent hours hammering and working....well that is really something. And it is truly a thing of beauty. I am so thankful for the heart of Gwen and Tim to support these ministries. And for Lia, Ellie, Zeke and Anna who decided to gift this to us. It will grace our wall for a long time.
We snacked on some wonderful food that Tim had made and got ready to go to church. Gwen was singing and playing at the service so she left early. Ken and I (and Tim and the kids) left a bit later.
With the kids dressed in their Christmas best, we headed out to church. There had been a prediction of snow for the afternoon, but it was just a light rain. Not really very "Christmasy". The service was really nice. It was so good to hear Gwen singing some of my favorite carols. And during the worship service she played flute. This was especially a treat for Ken (who always laments that Gwen did not decide to play flute professionally!) Then there was the traditional candle lighting during Silent Night.
Even Zeke held his own candle this year (with a little help from me). There is something about seeing the faces of the kids reflected in that candle light that brings the familiar story to life. By the time the service was over, everyone was ready to return home. Ken and I got home around dinner time. In the evening, we decided to watch the old movie "A Christmas Story". It was good to laugh while munching a Christmas cookie.
Yes, it was a very different kind of Christmas Eve for us. The thought of all that has changed in our family was very near the surface in everything that we did. But also very present was the hope of Christmas. Everything that Jesus brought to us when he came to the world as a tiny baby. He is the rescuer who came to bring us the assurance of an eternity with him in heaven. Knowing that Lucas is safe with Jesus makes this Christmas more bearable. And it reminds us how necessary it is for us to share the good news with all those we meet. It seems so important to be like the shepherds and go out praising God and telling everyone about Jesus. There will be much to ponder in the days ahead.
Jesus, thank you for the traditions that help us keep Christmas focused on you. Thank you for family and friends that stand with us. Help us to hear the message of the angels to the shepherds. Let us be free from fear and boldly tell the world about your amazing birth. Thank you Jesus for being our savior, our ever present friend and our strength. Bless those workers in Haiti who labor over oil drums and bring forth beauty. What a powerful reminder of your work in our lives. Bless all who struggle with lose during this season. Help us to hold on to hope! Amen