Christmas time has a way of softening hearts. Giving us permission to reflect on the gifts in our lives, both past and present. To see how God uses seemingly insignificant moments in our past to become what is now a lifelong treasure. This is one of mine…
I am so glad YOU are here!
When I was a little girl one of the things I looked forward to the most was going to my Granny & Papa’s church. It was a small church in Norwood Ohio, where everyone greeted you with a hug, or a firm handshake, followed up with that ever welcoming pat on the back. It never failed, each time I would visit they would make a point of saying,“I am so glad you are here.” And because of the way they said it, and the kind touch that followed, I believed them.
They welcomed and valued everyone that walked in the door.
Age didn’t matter here. There was a sense of belonging that went from the youngest to the oldest. It was in that little church that they made me feel a part of their adult world, that up until that point I had never experienced before. I loved the way this group referred to one another as Brother or Sister. Even as a little three year old girl, I could hear and see the love and respect as they grabbed my grandparents hands the moment we walked in the door. “It’s so good to see you Brother & Sister Brock: I am so glad you are here!”
There was a genuine gladness in all they did!
That reverence for one another, and for the One they served saturated their conversation and their worship service. Even though most of the time there were no instruments, just a tambourine or two, oh how this group could sing. And it didn’t matter if it was an old time hymn or a simple little tune one of the kid’s requested, their harmony, their rhythm, even the way they adjusted their voices to emphasize the beat of the music, was amazing to watch. Their sense of gladness, coupled with a mixture of reverence and freedom was inspirational. It was and still is a rarity, one that left a deep and life altering impression on my life. And as time has gone by, I have come to realize how great a gift it was…
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before Him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is He who made us, and we are His;
we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.
Psalm 100:2-3 NIV