I just realized a moment ago (while enjoying the sunrise) that for some who read Embrace the Grace, Christmas Day is almost over. So I wanted to write quickly and send Christmas greetings to YOU, too.
The Hawley house has changed considerably. It's already 8:00 AM and it's still pretty quiet. The Schreck portion of our family will join us for dinner around 5:00 PM; tomorrow they leave for NY. And the Smith portion is being squeezed in NC.
But my heart is full of gratitude this morning!
I'm thankful for the glorious gift of the Father. I'm thankful for the sacrifice of Jesus. I'm thankful for the comfort of the Holy Spirit. (And that's all the preaching I'll do in this post - promise.)
Last night was a first. It was the first time that Spencer and Abby sat through an entire service with Noni on the front row. (We forgot to set up a nursery for Christmas Eve service.)
We managed just fine. Thanks to juice cups. Lots of Christmas carols. Mints in Noni's purse. An unlit candle which doubled nicely as a sword. And my phone.
Not sure what country she called, what app he added, what photos were deleted............all I know is it helped them sit quietly!
At one point in the service while Poppa was speaking, Spencer (who never misses a thing) noticed that Poppa was adding long pauses after each phrase.
Naturally Spencer thought these were places where the congregation should repeat - loudly. So being on the front row and having the Leader Gene from both Mom and Dad, he led out.....
Poppa: "He came as a babe."
Spencer: "He came a baby."
Poppa: "He took on flesh."
Spencer: "He tooked on fyesh."
Poppa: "He was wrapped in swaddling cloths..."
Spencer: "He wapped in (quick look up at Noni) clothes." Massive smile.
So it went until Pastor Poppa changed his cadence.
Abby thoroughly enjoyed shouting, "AMEN!" just a half second after the congregation. Which caused those who heard her to break out in laughter.
At one point, Spencer thought someone was moving around too much. So he stared in their direction, extended his little arm its full length and began working his fingers trying his best to snap just like his daddy does. Thankfully, chubby fingers don't snap very loudly!
Abby spent a considerable amount of time working with the red bow Joy had carefully positioned in that sea of curls on her head. Fiddle. Fiddle. Fiddle. Look up with a smile at Noni. Fiddle. Fiddle.
I didn't even attempt to move her hand. I figured with a head band or without a head band she was still adorable!
Just as they were getting done (which unfortunately was about ten minutes before the service concluded) a friend came to the rescue. She bribed Spencer with the privilege of holding her lit candle during the final song.
Abby just wanted to snuggle. I didn't need a candle this year. I needed the snuggle more.
Meagan had called yesterday to say that Noah smiled when he heard a message I left on her voice mail. That made Noni's heart just light up!
Yep, Christmas has morphed for us yet again. But that's okay. The central truth never changes. Today we celebrate the birth of our Savior. And for the joy that He has brought into our human existence I know no other phrase that expresses my thoughts better........
"Glory to God in the Highest and on Earth, Peace Goodwill Toward Men!"