Another glorious Sunday here in KimmyVille. The sun smiled as we headed to worship around 10am, and it sank in the horizon just a few minutes ago in its vermillion boots, still grinning and full of promise for tomorrow.
The Holiday season will provide plenty of opportunity over the next 60 days or so to sing music, see plays, hear concerts, smell baked goodies, feel the velvet ribbon of the season start to embrace us. Indeed, Christmastime can be a merry time if we find the right Gift, and put the ribbons and bows on our gestures of love with kindness and mercy. For me and my budget, I don't really expect to shop a lot for presents; I am giving myself in the form of singing, playing and making merry by whatever means necessary. When I sing, when I play, when I write, I give myself the incredible gift of new, wonderful Christmas memories.
Sure, I can dwell on Christmas Past, and all the loveliness of the Holidays we spent as Thomas children. We always had a live tree; Dad made a turkey; we sang at the church and at school, and even more importantly, we sang around the piano. Karen and I every year were asked to sing Little Drummer Boy at Florence Christian, but oftentimes our excitement eclipsed our performance, and we'd end up at the mercy of the church giggles, a situation for which there is simply no cure. You just have to laugh and enjoy the moment.
Isn't that the way life and acceptance is, though? We have to learn to laugh at our human-ness, our flaws, our imperfections...because God wouldn't want us any other way. Life's inevitable mistakes are kind of like Aunt Bee's pickles: you gonna have to "learn to love 'em." I try to see all of life through Aunt Bee's pickle jar, but truthfully, despite all my good intentions, I find myself sad from time to time during Christmas, remembering my parents and sister and the splintering of my family after their deaths. I'm not sad for long, though, because every week, I have choir, I have worship, and apart from the planned spiritual refreshment, I have my ukulele that challenges me every in the most delightful manner. I soon will be completing my first two years as a ukulele-vangelist, and I'm putting together a songlist for any lil gigs I might be able to get over the next few weeks. Put all that together, and you have a pretty happy opportunity to enjoy the birthday of our Lord and Savior.
So why am I yammering about all that? I think I just needed to talk about what's on my heart tonight. I know some of my lambchops reading this have been ill -- I wish you wellness and smiles. I know some of you are suffering from losses of family, or your finances are troubling you, or you may simply be like me, and pondering why God loves me so much. I am a sinner, I am not spotless, and I need to know that I am a redeemed and forgiven child of God.
Today I was reminded that Jesus Loves Me when MR played a beautiful piece on the piano that is an arrangement of that tune with Claire de Lune, it's just gorgeous. I also found comfort that My Shepherd Will Supply My Need (our choir sang Mack Wilberg's version, another lovely selection) and that there will be Peace In the Valley (one of our singers sang his rendition during offertory, and the congregation sprang into rare applause when he was finished).
Music gives me spiritual renewal, and every Sunday my cup is filled and today, it overfloweth. (I hope that's a word :)
Here is a prayer we share, I hope you find meaning in it:
Jesus prayed that we might be one.
One in spirit, one in mission
In union and communion with each other and with You.
Today, God, we confess fumblings and failures in accomplishing unity,
as we set aside yet another day to remind ourselves of the task.
Give us eyes to recognize your reflection
in the eyes of Christians everywhere.
Give us a mind to accept and celebrate our differences.
Give us a heart big enough to love your children everywhere.
We thank You for setting a table with space enough for us all!